NOTE: ORLA's blog will be going offline for upgrades the last week in October.
[October 22, 2021] - Meals Tax Fight | Free Training | Continued Push for RRF
Local Meals Tax Fights Continue - We are neck deep in local opposition campaigns in both Cannon Beach and Newport in support of our local restaurants doing business in those communities. As you’ve heard before, we’ll most likely know later in the evening on November 2 whether either of these proposed 5% meals tax proposals pass by will of the voters. Here’s the latest media coverage from earlier this week.
Free Covid Online Training Extended – We have made the decision to extend access to the free online training we created at the association to assist restaurant and lodging operators and their staff with the challenging customer service dynamics when dealing with mask mandates across the state. We will keep these Guest Service Safety trainings (restaurant and lodging versions in both English and Spanish) available online for free through at least the end of the calendar year. Make sure to take advantage for your own operation and feel free to spread the word and share the following link so others in our industry can access this free resource thanks to a sponsorship from Anheuser Busch.
ORLA Media Event – Your state association in conjunction with several other state associations around the nation will be holding media events to continue pressing the need for restaurant revitalization funding for all eligible applicants. We want to thank Gabriel Pascuzzi, Chef & Owner of Mama Bird for stepping up and representing 2,592 restaurant businesses like his who remain out in the cold with no restaurant revitalization funding after applying for federal financial relief. We’ll do our best to make an impression in the media this coming week and keep the chorus going as we press federal elected leaders to make good on their promise.
Here for Oregon Partnership – The Oregonian is our latest sponsor of the Oregon Tourism Leadership Academy program and we want to thank Oregonian Media Group President John Maher and their Vice President of Brand and Strategic Partnerships Amy Lewin for thinking big and launching their “Here for Oregon” initiative. The Oregonian is launching this new effort to help share the good across our great state. Powered by the incredible teams and tools of The Oregonian/OregonLive, they are taking the stories created every day and building a new place dedicated to lifting and celebrating Oregon. This multi-media approach offers a custom blend of community-driven content that is distinctly Oregon. It's an extraordinary aggregate for joy, awareness, and connection across the state. Whether you live in Pendleton, Pleasant Hill or Portland, there’s a place for you here and we want to help celebrate what the Oregonian is working to accomplish. As they begin to roll out their efforts, John and Amy are inviting their community partners to join them in building, from the ground up, stories of the people, the places, the experiences and the diversity of culture and skills that inspire innovation and community. Share Oregon. “Like” and “Follow” @HereisOregon on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube Get the good stuff. Subscribe to Here is Oregon weekly e-newsletter. Show you’re here and tag good news in your community with #HereisOregon.
[October 4, 2021] - Foundation Updates | Industry Recovery Trends | OTLA
Oregon Hospitality Foundation Updates - This past week, ORLA’s Executive Director of the Oregon Hospitality Foundation Wendy Popkin announced she has accepted a new role with the Washington County Visitors Association as Vice President of Destination Sales. We hope you all join us in celebrating Wendy’s contributions to the Foundation over the past nine years. In conversations with Wendy and Foundation Board members, we are moving forward with a plan to hire two new full time positions in support of the hospitality foundation. One position will be an executive coordinator for foundation governance while also serving as our ProStart Liaison for Oregon’s 40 participating high schools. The other position will be a Workforce Development Coordinator focused on creating stronger connections between industry leaders and high school and community college classrooms – think guest speaking opportunities, job shadow coordination, career/job fair involvement, and experiential field trips. Reach out to ORLA if you know someone interested in these positions.
National Restaurant Trends - The latest economic trends in the restaurant survey based on a feedback from 4,000 restaurants across the nation. The NRA's infographic and associated letter sent to DC leadership focus on the importance of preventing new taxes on small businesses as our industry continues to grapple with the impacts of the enduring pandemic. Activity in DC continues to be touch and go and our Government Affairs team will continue keeping all lines of communication open with our partners at AAHOA, AHLA, and NRA as developments unfold.
[September 24, 2021] - Fight Against Meals Taxes / Chair's Getaway / Conference Program
Fights Against Meal Taxes Continue - The ORLA professional team led by Steve Scardina and Terry Hopkins in their regions of the state and supported by Greg Astley, Tom Perrick, and Glenda Hamstreet in our Government Affairs Department are working hard to defeat meals taxes appearing on the November ballot in the cities of Cannon Beach and Newport. Our websites for the campaigns are up and running and our success in defeating both proposals is largely dependent on our ability to keep local restaurants in both communities engaged and in the forefront. It is critical that ORLA take a back seat to the local names and faces that make up a local restaurant industry while fully leveraging ORLA’s association structure to assist our local members in fighting effectively against tax proposals when they are opposed by members in cases like this. In the past 4 years, we have successfully defeated two other restaurant tax proposals – one in Jacksonville and one in Hood River County. We hope to defeat these two tax proposals and should have results to share on November 2 or 3. Vote No Sales Tax on Meals!
ORLA Hospitality Conference Success - Earlier this week ORLA held a 2-day in-person conference for industry members at the Riverhouse in Bend. Feedback so far has been very positive, citing keynote and breakout session messages on target and insightful for the hard-hit hospitality industry. ORLA members also had the opportunity to vote in several new members of the Board of Directors. Save the date for next year's event on Sunday & Monday, September 11 and 12 at the Graduate hotel in Eugene.
Chair’s Getaway - We are off and running in creating a great experience on Oregon’s north coast for our Chair’s Getaway event on Sunday, November 7 which will be co-hosted by Incoming Chair John Barofsky and Outgoing Chair Masudur Khan. We want to take a moment to thank Shannon McMenamin and her team at the Gearhart location for working with us to put together the Reception and Multi-Course Dinner on site. Also, a big thanks to Outgoing ORLA Chair Masudur Khan for making the SaltLine Hotel available for overnight stays and our sponsors at US Foods (thanks Randy) and Pacific Seafood for their food donations. We also have America’s Hub World Tours joining us as a Transportation Sponsor this year for those who prefer a shuttle bus between the hotel and the restaurant. The Chair’s Getaway event has 50-60 people in attendance and is an opportunity to raise funds for ORLAPAC under the direction of Greg Astley, ORLA’s Director of Government Affairs. I hope you consider making a donation to ORLAPAC and join us for this great reception, dinner, and overnight stay following on November 7. Register here to reserve your seats – we expect this will sell out so act soon.
[September 17, 2021] - Win for Lottery Retailers / Vaccine Mandates / EIDL Updates
Win for Lottery Retailers – ORLA’s membership includes a segment that cares deeply about the association’s advocacy for lottery retailer issues. ORLA in partnership with many other stakeholders was able to secure a win with the Governor committing in writing to prohibit any expansion of state sponsored gambling on mobile devices with an exception for the options already available on cell phones. The following two letters spell out the request made by us and our partners to legislative leadership and the Governor’s response essentially putting a moratorium on any gambling expansions on cell phones for the duration of her term in office.
Vaccine Mandates – We expect to have our hands full in the coming months as the potential for emerging vaccine mandates continues to be debated primarily at the local levels of government outside of President Biden’s announcement this past week. We have been made aware that King County in Washington State will move forward with a vaccine mandate but has decided to again target specific businesses with the mandate as opposed to all businesses. It remains unclear how the new vaccine mandate will be enforced and how the role of restaurant and other industry operators will be defined for those industries impacted. The King County mandate will go into effect in late October. Our reports show the NYC mandate has a vaccine verification compliance rate of less than 30% meaning as many as 70% of operations were not verifying vaccine status at the door. In one of ORLA’s recent surveys we asked operators what types of mandates they would proactively comply with. Under 40% said they would comply with vaccine verification and we suspect the reason is driven by the challenges posed by putting our frontline staff in the position of asking for those verifications universally to dine indoors and the uncertainty of what happens when customers are denied indoor dining service due to a mandate.
As a reminder, we openly shared our survey results and our deep concerns about compliance rates with Multnomah County Chair Kafoury and the Governor’s Office. We’re hoping that step keeps the industry from being targeted while we continue our advocacy and support for vaccines and their importance.
EIDL Program Updates – The Small Business Administration’s Deputy District Director for Portland Sam Goldstein provided us at ORLA with the latest updates on EIDL. The SBA's COVID EIDL Program Summary serves as a review of where we are to date on EIDL expansion. Another webinar presentation is coming up on September 23; register here.
The SBA is continuing to accept loans and modification to existing loans. New applications and increases in existing loans resulting in total amounts to be approved >$500K can be submitted immediately. Decisions on requests >$500K will begin October 8, 2021.
Main Update: Increase in maximum loan amount from $500,000 to $2,000,000 (policy)
Key Changes in Effect as of September 8, 2021:
[Click the "Read More" link for archived blog updates]
Guest Blog | UnitedHealthcare
The current labor shortage in the Hospitality industry is real. According to Job List’s Q2 2021 United States Job Market Report: 60% of job seekers indicated they would not consider working in a restaurant, bar, or hotel for their next job. In addition, 38% of former hospitality workers reported they are transitioning out of the industry.
Though there is no silver bullet for attracting and retaining team members, there are three things that employers can do to keep their current team members engaged that will also appeal to potential new hires:
A recent Benefits Pro article on employee retention indicated that “88% of employees would consider a lower-paying job with quality health benefits.” The pandemic brought to light the absolute need for everyone to have access to healthcare, even part-time employees. Though health insurance may not be an affordable option for all hospitality employers, virtual care is an incredible alternative! With HealthiestYou by Teladoc, members and their families get free and unlimited access to the following virtual healthcare services:
For more information on the HealthiestYou virtual care program, reach out to Nick Gates at Teladoc Health: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This guest blog was submitted by UnitedHealthcare. For more information on guest blog opportunities, contact Marla McColly, Business Development Director, Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association.
"Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill
AMAZING! Though pandemic challenges continue, I have been in awe of our industry partners and how you have not only ‘pivoted’ but also swiveled, spun, and inverted in order to innovate and rise above them. In the midst of all this, I feel especially grateful to the many who have given volunteer time, energy, and funding so that the Oregon Hospitality Foundation could innovate workforce, training, and philanthropy programs to help support those challenges.
Looking back over the past 17 months, below are a few highlights of what we have accomplished together so far (you can also watch our short video at bit.ly/OHFweR):
Though the last 17 months have been tougher than any of us might have imagined, I hope that you too are encouraged by these programs and what you, your teams, and our industry have accomplished via sheer tenacity and amazing innovation.
Please join me as you are able with expressing gratitude to the following, including my incredible ORLA teammates, who helped make these programs possible:
OHF Board of Directors:
Takeout & A Movie: Funding Restaurant Efforts to Feed Those with Food Insecurity
ProStart: Supporting the Needs of Oregon’s Culinary Career & Technical Program’s Teachers and Students
Providing Service While Supporting Safety Course: Assisting Hospitality Employees to Address Pandemic Related Guest Service Challenges
Dine Local Campaign: Celebrating and Supporting Oregon’s Restaurants
Restaurant Week: Honoring the Resilience & Positive Energy of Oregon’s Restaurant Industry
Hospitality Help Fund: Providing Relief From the Pandemic’s Impact on Oregon’s Hospitality Industry and Resources for Recovery
Friends of the Foundation: Supporting OHF’s Mission Work and Operational Needs
Thank you for your continuing support. | Wendy Popkin, Oregon Hospitality Foundation
ONWARD! “Life is like riding a bicycle, to keep your balance, you must keep moving.” – Albert Einstein
Wendy Popkin is the Executive Director of the Oregon Hospitality Foundation, a nonprofit 501c3 dedicated to providing educational, training, and philanthropic support to Oregon’s restaurant, lodging, and tourism industry. Wendy is a 35+-year career veteran who describes herself as “fanatically enthusiastic about helping others enjoy the same type of fabulous career opportunities I have enjoyed in the hospitality industry.” OregonHospitalityFoundation.org
Positive trends improve industry outlook; uncertainty and waning consumer confidence could impact long-term rebuilding
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Vanessa Sink, Media Relations Director, National Restaurant Association
Washington, D.C. (August 31, 2021) – Today, the National Restaurant Association released a mid-year supplement to the 2021 State of the Restaurant Industry Report, which illustrates the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the restaurant industry. The report provides an updated look at key indicators and trends influencing the industry’s recovery as of June/July 2021, including the current state of the economy, workforce, and food and beverage sales.
Key findings include:
“Faced with one of the most devastating and disruptive events of our lifetime, the restaurant industry has taken significant strides toward rebuilding over the first half of 2021,” said Tom Bené, President and CEO of the National Restaurant Association. “Consumer expectations around dining out have changed, and the industry is continually adapting to not only meet, but exceed, these expectations. Restaurant operators, along with their partners throughout the supply and distribution chain, remain focused on providing diners with a safe and enjoyable experience, amid rising food and labor costs and challenges related to the pandemic. Given these factors, our outlook through the end of the year is one of cautious optimism.”
Labor and Food Costs Remain Top Challenges
July marked the seventh consecutive month of staffing growth, translating to a net increase of 1.3 million jobs in the first half of 2021. Despite these increases, eating and drinking places remain nearly 1 million jobs or 8% below pre-pandemic employment levels. Operators also continue to grapple with higher input costs, with wholesale food prices increasing at their fastest rate in seven years.
Technology, Outdoor Dining, and Alcohol To-Go Are Here to Stay
The pandemic catalyzed many changes in the restaurant industry including the rapid consumer adoption of technology for online ordering, electronic payment, and order pickup. Consumers want to see restaurants continue incorporating technology and are keen to continue using outdoor dining. In 31 jurisdictions, thanks to approved legislation, consumers will be able to continue ordering alcoholic beverages with their takeout.
The Threat of Delta
In the first half of 2021 industry trends were positive, but there is still a long road ahead. A National Restaurant Association survey, conducted Aug. 13-15, found that the delta variant of COVID-19 threatens to reverse the gains made in the first six months of the year.
“The trends from the first half of the year are promising, but a lot of uncertainty remains in regard to the delta variant, consumer confidence, and ongoing labor challenges,” said Hudson Riehle, Senior Vice President of Research for the National Restaurant Association. “We expect restaurant pent-up demand will remain high in the coming months. However, in this state of flux, maintaining the availability of on-site dining with few capacity restrictions will be critical to keeping the overall sales momentum going forward, especially for full service operators.”
The National Restaurant Association will continue to monitor the effect of COVID-19 on the industry in the coming months and plans a full State of the Restaurant Industry Report in early 2022.
Click here to download the 2021 State of the Restaurant Industry Mid-Year Update, sponsored by Sage Intacct.
About the National Restaurant Association
Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises 1 million restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of 15.6 million employees. We represent the industry in Washington, D.C., and advocate on its behalf. We sponsor the industry's largest trade show (National Restaurant Association Show); leading food safety training and certification program (ServSafe); unique career-building high school program (the NRAEF's ProStart). For more information, visit Restaurant.org and find us on Twitter @WeRRestaurants, Facebook and YouTube.
The Circuit Court decision has been affirmed by the State of Oregon Court of Appeals
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 19, 2021
Jason Brandt, President & CEO, ORLA
503.302.5060 | email@example.com
Wilsonville, OR– The importance of appropriately spending local tourism tax revenue was affirmed on August 11 by the State of Oregon Court of Appeals after a case brought forth by Bend lodging operators and the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA) against the City of Bend. The original suit was argued on May 8, 2018, in Deschutes County Circuit Court with Judge Beth M. Bagley presiding. In the suit, the hospitality industry plaintiffs represented by Josh Newton of Karnopp Petersen LLP argued the City unlawfully redirected restricted Transient Lodging Tax (TLT) revenue, which state law required to be spent on tourism and tourism promotion. The court reasoned that a local ordinance passed in the City of Bend violated ORS 320.350 by decreasing the percentage of total local TLT revenues expended to fund tourism promotion from 35.4 percent to 31.2 percent.
“The affirmation by the Oregon Court of Appeals this month upholding the Deschutes County Circuit Court decision means strong protections remain in place for how local lodging tax dollars can be spent across Oregon,” said Jason Brandt, President & CEO of the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association. “Our goals remain the same which start with the importance of working with local administrators and elected leaders when disagreements arise. Filing a lawsuit against a local government partner is a last resort and we look forward to turning the page and focusing in on what we can do across Oregon to invest our limited local lodging tax dollars on promotional strategies proven to boost our state’s local tourism economies.”
The August 11 decision and details pertaining to the case can be found here.
In 2003, the Oregon State Legislature passed lodging tax reforms meant to protect a percentage of revenues for hospitality industry reinvestment. As a result of the reforms, lodging tax collections spent by local jurisdictions on tourism promotion and facilities were ‘locked in’ as a percentage based on what a jurisdiction had been spending or agreed to spend as of July 1, 2003. July 2, 2003 represented a new chapter in Oregon whereby any new increase in a local lodging tax rate or any newly established local lodging tax would have to be spent on tourism promotion or tourism related facilities with 70 percent of revenue collected. The remaining 30 percent can and is commonly spent however a local jurisdiction sees fit free of any restrictions. You can view a short video created by ORLA which works to explain local lodging tax restrictions here: https://bit.ly/TLTdefined.
“My firm and I are pleased with the decision by the Oregon Court of Appeals affirming Judge Bagley,” said Josh Newton, attorney for ORLA and the Bend lodging operators. “It is important that local governments abide by state law and honor their agreements with local business.”
For more information on the efforts of the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association please visit OregonRLA.org.
The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association is the leading business association for the foodservice and lodging industry in Oregon, which before COVID-19 provided over 180,000 paychecks to working Oregonians. The latest available data from the Oregon Employment Department shows current employment levels in the accommodations and foodservice industry totaling approximately 160,000 people as hospitality like many other industries faces the disruptions caused by COVID-19.
[Update 8.14.21] - New Law Allows Fiscal Year Filing for CAT
SB 164 requires a business that files taxes on a fiscal year basis to file an additional short-form in Year One of the Corporate Activity Tax (CAT) to effectively true up their fiscal year tax filing to the calendar year tax filing requirement in CAT. Read more.
[Update 6.14.21] - Key dates and CAT forms from the Oregon Department of Revenue and the Corporate Activity Tax team
Key dates include*:
* The Oregon Legislature is currently considering changes that may impact these dates for some taxpayers. More details will be provided if those become law.”
CAT forms can be found on the Department of Revenue website forms page by scrolling down to Corporate Activity Tax or entering Corporate Activity Tax in the search block. Important online resources include a worksheet to help with estimating payments, registration and payment training, a list of frequently asked questions, and a series of short subject-specific instructional videos.
Taxpayers with questions about the CAT can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 503-945-8005.
Relief options available to taxpayers negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic can be found on the agency’s tax relief options page. Information about tax relief available for those affected by wildfires is also available on the agency website.
Commercial Activity Tax (CAT)
The new Commercial Activity Tax is imposed only after a taxpayer exceeds $1 million of taxable commercial activity. Once they pass that threshold, the tax is $250 plus 0.57% on gross receipts greater than $1 million after subtractions. Proceeds of the tax are directed by statute to boost funding for public schools. The Department of Revenue's website includes a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) for tax payers to better understand what the tax is and who is subject to the tax.
Latest Announcements & Updates:
Resources & Webinars to Help You Understand the CAT
The Commercial Activity Tax is complicated and calculating your potential tax can be confusing. Therefore, ORLA has created a CAT calculator example to help our members understand how to calculate the tax. This exercise is only meant to help you project what your tax liability could be; as always, be sure to consult your tax advisors.
ORLA hosted two members-only informational webinars on Nov. 19 and Dec. 3 that explained the new tax, the Department’s implementation plans and what you can expect as a business owner. Tax experts with accounting firm Moss Adams LLP in Portland also provided some best tax practices for the hospitality industry. ORLA members can access the slide deck from the presentation by logging into the Member Portal on ORLA's website and clicking the Resource Library.
FAQ: Can we include the CAT tax on our customers’ bill?
A. The legislation that established the CAT (Oregon Laws 2019, Chapters 122 and 579) does not specifically prohibit a business from passing on additional cost of the tax. If you do choose to add a new line item to the receipt, the line item itself still counts as “commercial activity” when determining your tax liability. Consult with an attorney or financial advisor before making any final decisions.
How the Commercial Activities Tax Came About
This was one of the 2019 Legislative Session bills having the biggest impact on businesses. ORLA was opposed to this bill as it raised taxes on commercial activity for businesses with gross revenues of over one million dollars. ORLA, along with others in the business community, was able to amend the original bill to include a deduction for labor or cost of goods sold. The association will work during the rule making session to ensure hospitality businesses will be able to include the tax increase on receipts so customers can see the impact of the tax.
Additional Information and Timeline for the CAT
DOR Sought Industry Input in CAT Rule Making
The Department of Revenue (DOR) held a series of town hall meetings across the state in September-October to seek input from business taxpayers about the administrative rules for Oregon’s new Commercial Activity Tax (CAT). Nearly 900 business taxpayers and tax professionals took part in these public forums or participated in video conferences and conference calls. More information is now available on the CAT page of DOR website.
If you have any questions, please email Greg Astley, Director of Government Affairs, at Astley@OregonRLA.org.
This is for general informational purposes only. The information is not, and should not be relied upon or regarded as, legal advice. Please consult with your legal advisors.
PRESS STATEMENT: August 11, 2021
Statewide Mask Mandate Must Prevent More Business Restrictions
Statement from President & CEO Jason Brandt:
We can’t overstate how exhausted the hospitality industry is from an unthinkable health crisis spanning 18 months and counting. A new statewide mask mandate taking effect in 2 days must not lead to any other statewide business regulations. The industry is nowhere near recovery and has a long road ahead after all statewide restrictions were officially lifted 42 days ago. ORLA will work directly with Oregon OSHA and will advocate for a focus on ensuring appropriate signage is in place at businesses in addition to their oversight role for employee safety.
For more information on the efforts of the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association please visit OregonRLA.org.
The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association is the leading business association for the foodservice and lodging industry in Oregon, which before COVID-19 provided over 180,000 paychecks to working Oregonians. The latest available data for May of 2021 from the Oregon Employment Department shows current employment levels in the accommodations and foodservice industry totaling 153,200 people.
Guest Blog | Miller Nash LLP
Key Considerations for Virtual Restaurant Brand Deals
Though not an entirely new concept, pandemic-related shutdowns have hastened the growth of ghost kitchens and delivery-only virtual brands, opening up a new potential line of business for local restaurants looking to expand into the new world of app-driven purchases.
When talking about “ghost kitchens” – there are two primary types of venture to consider. The first involves a brick and mortar space (or food cart) that, through a licensing agreement with a virtual restaurant brand, handles fulfillment for the virtual brand out of its existing space, with its own staff and equipment, often in addition to operating its own brand. The second is a brick-and-mortar space that rents out a kitchen (or station within a kitchen) to restauranteurs. While the second form of “ghost kitchen” has its own set of unique legal considerations (including real estate and insurance issues), this article explores some of the key deal points to consider when entering into an arrangement for the first type of opportunity, the virtual-only brand deal.
General Considerations for Virtual Brand Licensing Deals
Over the past year, a variety of virtual brands have started offering local restaurants and food carts the opportunity to offer their delivery-focused concepts (for example, musician Mariah Carey’s cookie brand, and YouTube star MrBeast’s burger chain). In general, a virtual brand will provide recipes, certain know-how, and packaging/labels, together with a right to use the brand and fulfill orders in a given territory, and the brick-and-mortar restaurant or food cart will provide the facilities, equipment, staff, and ingredients to produce the actual orders as they come in. In addition to the basic division of responsibilities, other operational considerations include how revenue or fees are calculated and paid, what fulfillment platforms are to be used, the scope of the territory, and any promotional obligations of the parties.
Among other terms to be negotiated on the legal front, consider:
Intellectual Property Licensing Terms
Intellectual property is at the heart of any virtual brand deal–the logos, trademarks, and trade names of the brand are arguably its most valuable asset, not to mention proprietary recipes, processes, and know-how that may be used by the restaurant throughout the fulfillment process. While the virtual brand will have an obvious interest in ensuring a brand licensing agreement clearly protects the brand’s intellectual property, restaurants should also pay close attention to the intellectual property provisions of an agreement. At minimum, a restaurant needs to ensure it is granted a sufficient license to perform its obligations under the agreement, and should seek to get a representation from the brand that its marks do not infringe on the rights of third parties (in addition to indemnification in the event of a breach of that representation). Another point to consider is which party should own any improvements to the intellectual property (which may be particularly relevant if proprietary recipes are part of the licensed assets).
Particularly in the event of celebrity-driven virtual brands, note that your licensing agreement may ultimately be subject to a second licensing agreement further upstream giving a virtual dining company the right to use a celebrity’s name, image, likeness, and other rights. While this may ultimately not be a negotiable term, understand that your agreement may be terminable on short notice if those rights are no longer available for use.
Employment Considerations and Relationship of the Parties
Also essential to a virtual restaurant endeavor is clear definition of the relationship of the parties. Entering into a partnership or joint venture may have negative tax impacts and other legal implications, and in general, parties should enter into a virtual brand licensing agreement as independent contractors. For the protection of both parties, care should be taken to describe the employment relationship (or lack thereof) between the brand and the restaurant’s staff, who remain solely employed by the restaurant.
In some cases, virtual dining concepts may be executed as a franchisor/franchisee relationship, subjecting the parties to the unique and often complex bounds of franchise law. While you should work with an attorney on any virtual brand deal, be sure to consult an attorney with franchise-specific experience if you are asked to enter into a franchise agreement or have questions as to whether your arrangement is really a franchising relationship.
These are just a few of many considerations for restaurants to consider when negotiating “ghost kitchen”/virtual brand deals. After the forced growth of digital ordering during the recent stay-at-home era, delivery-only concepts are likely here to stay, presenting an exciting growth opportunity for restaurants with additional capacity to fulfill online orders. | Nic Mayne, Miller Nash LLP
Nic Mayne is a business attorney with Miller Nash LLP. A graduate of Harvard Law, Nic’s practice focuses on reviewing, drafting, and negotiating contracts for businesses and individuals (including restaurants and celebrity virtual dining start-ups), such as intellectual property licenses and assignments; marketing and advertising agreements; manufacturing, distribution and supply agreements; and governing documents for various entities and joint ventures. Nic also guides clients through the M&A process and investment offerings. Nic can be reached at email@example.com or 503.205.2336.
This guest blog was submitted by Miller Nash LLP. For more information on guest blog opportunities, contact Marla McColly, Business Development Director, Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association.
Workforce Challenges Need Smart Strategies, Partnerships
per·fect storm noun
“a particularly bad or critical state of affairs, arising from a number of negative and unpredictable factors” (i.e.) "the past two years have been a perfect storm for the travel industry" Oxford Languages.
Truth, Google it! Oxford actually used our industry as an example of how to use the phrase “perfect storm.”
With more people becoming vaccinated, many operators felt great relief and were optimistic as customer demand continually, and in some cases monumentally, increased. Meeting this sudden ramp up would have expected challenges, of course, but few could have predicted that the biggest challenge was yet to come. Hiring staff!
Workforce Challenges. Hospitality is not the only industry struggling to hire and, in fact, we were experiencing difficulties pre-pandemic as well. But as one of the most battered by closures due to the pandemic, we are also among the hardest hit by hiring challenges. Few things can hamper economic recovery, or be more frustrating, than being unable to meet customer demand when there is facility capacity, but lack of workers to fulfill the need. While there is not a treasure map of where to find ready to work employees, and/or how to keep them, there are best practices and resources identified that I hope are helpful.
Not One Strategy But Many. In the short term, partners have experienced some success by raising pay, offering hiring and/or length of term bonuses, creating referral programs, and offering housing stipends. Other tactics are proven to also strengthen appeal. These include:
Advertising starting rate and pay raise potential IN your ad. Failure to do so is cited by jobseekers and recruiters as the number one reason for lack of response. One successful employer actually advertised their starting rate on their company vans!
Decreasing amount of time between paychecks. Some operators are even paying daily, many at least weekly.
Emphasizing advancement opportunities and management support for career growth IN your ad. We have lost many veteran associates to other industries that could keep them employed during the pandemic when we could not. Those unfamiliar with our industry often do not understand the rapid career trajectory hospitality offers.
Guaranteeing shifts, even if demand is slower. One lodging operator shared that after analyzing their P&L, they realized that it was less expensive for them to keep seasonal employees on payroll during winter than to go through re-hiring and/or being forced to keep rooms unoccupied due to lack of staff. They planned to use the time to cross-train and focus on quality and service projects they never have time to do in summer, which will likely increase their Tripadvisor ratings for an even higher payback!
Promoting your company’s value system. Lockdown created time for many to reflect about their own ideals and how they want to spend their time. Are you a Certified B-Corp, do you support local philanthropic needs, are your business practices environmentally sustainable, do you hire people who have disabilities, do you pay employees to volunteer a few hours of their time? Recruiters note company culture is increasingly important as a deciding factor. For a good example of how to amplify culture, check out Elephants Deli’s hiring page at Elephantsdeli.com/about/careers.
Telling it like it is. On your hiring page, feature a few two-to-three-minute videos from actual employees. These do not need high production value, in fact, phone-recorded videos can be more credible. Focus on describing what the actual job is responsible for, what they like about working for your company, and even what the challenges are. Keeping it real is essential. Bandon Dunes needed golf course maintenance staff and received support from the Southwest Oregon Workforce Investment Board to create this recruitment video: youtu.be/3SJ_GZ95pvM. Though more highly produced than your company might need, you can see how effective this first-hand narrative approach can be.
Leveraging online training resources. The American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) offers online training at AHLEI.org/lodging to orient entry-level employees to their new roles before conducting on-site training. This approach can reduce the amount of supervisory training time needed and make the new hire more comfortable, increasing their desire to stay. Courses include front desk representative, kitchen cook, housekeeping attendant, restaurant server, and more. AHLEI and the National Restaurant Association also offer skill-building courses to help enthusiastic employees progress towards supervisory roles, while still working in their current position; visit ServSuccess.com for more information. Remember that your foundation, the Oregon Hospitality Foundation (OHF), also offers two online guest service courses–one which is specific to the pandemic’s service and safety challenges–at OregonGuestService.com.
Getting to know your local WorkSource Oregon agencies who work directly with jobseekers. Funded by your taxes and therefore offering no fee assistance, these teams are dedicated to “…to effectively respond to workforce challenges through high-quality services to individuals and businesses, resulting in job attainment, retention, and advancement.” Do more than just place an ad with the office. Developing a relationship can have a big pay-off with support most hospitality employers do not even realize is available. Visit Worksourceoregon.org/about for more information.
The Big Picture. When I wrote about this idea a few years ago, the strategy seemed like an interesting idea. Now it feels like an essential strategy in order to build a labor-source pipeline such as the healthcare, IT, and construction industry has done. How? Flex our collective economic and hiring impact, and gain attention from local workforce boards.
The purpose of Oregon’s Workforce and Talent Development Board (Oregon.gov/workforceboard) is to “Advance Oregon through meaningful work, training, and education by empowering people and employers.” Its nine regional development boards identify the most economically impactful employers in their local communities and offer tremendous strategic and financial support to create tactics that help meet these employers’ needs. Find your local workforce development board at bit.ly/9-LWDB and see what industries are currently regarded as major sectors. You will find the hospitality industry is regarded key in only one of Oregon’s nine regions thus far.
Until and unless the hospitality industry is recognized for the important economic role it has in the other eight regions, hiring, training, retaining, and advancing employees will continue to be our struggle alone, rather than engaging the expertise and funding support that Oregon’s workforce system offers.
In fact, as a pilot program, OHF, in partnership with the Oregon Coast Visitors Association and with assistance from workforce board leader and ORLA member Zack Poole (Pig-n-Pancake), has built a growing relationship over the past four years with Northwest Oregon Works (NOW). This workforce development board serves Clatsop, Lincoln, Tillamook, Benton, and Columbia counties. Thanks to these efforts and NOW board support, the Leisure and Hospitality Industry has recently been recognized as a major sector, the first region in the state to do so. To understand more about the positive impact of this collaboration, read more at bit.ly/OHFwbpr.
Weathering the Storm. While navigating through current workforce challenges, plotting a course toward an easier route can be feasible. See additional resources and learn more from OHF’s recent webinar, “Accessing Resources to Help Support Your Workforce Needs” at bit.ly/webinar052521.
I welcome your ideas, questions, and comments. Reach me at WPopkin@OregonRLA.org. | Wendy Popkin, Oregon Hospitality Foundation
Wendy Popkin is the Executive Director of the Oregon Hospitality Foundation, a nonprofit 501c3 dedicated to providing educational, training, and philanthropic support to Oregon’s restaurant, lodging, and tourism industry. Wendy is a 35-year career veteran who describes herself as “fanatically enthusiastic about helping others enjoy the same type of fabulous career opportunities I have enjoyed in the hospitality industry.” OregonHospitalityFoundation.org
Residents Should Have Say on Sales Tax on Meals
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 12, 2021
Greg Astley, Director of Government Affairs, ORLA
503.851.1330 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Wilsonville, OR– The Cannon Beach City Council voted to approve a 5% sales tax on meals by a 3-2 vote, leading to a second reading on July 14th, 2021, to either ratify the sales tax or, if it fails, open the door for the City Council to place a measure on the ballot this November. The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA) opposes the sales tax on meals in Cannon Beach and believes the residents of Cannon Beach deserve to have their voices heard.
“It’s unconscionable Cannon Beach City Council would even think about enacting a sales tax on restaurants after the last 16 months our industry has suffered through but it’s especially troubling they would choose to do so without asking for a vote of the people,” said Greg Astley, Director of Government Affairs for ORLA. “The restaurants fortunate enough to survive the wildfires, ice storms and global pandemic we’ve been through are still struggling to hire enough people to fully re-open and try to recover from their significant financial losses.”
Astley continued, “Although one City Councilor claimed residents would not be affected by the tax and therefore the sales tax on meals should not go to a vote of the people, nothing could be further from the truth. Residents will pay the sales tax on meals every time they go out to eat with friends and family unless they choose to stop patronizing local restaurants in favor of establishments outside the city limits.”
Beyond the obvious unfairness of asking one industry to shoulder the burden of paying for services everyone will benefit from, ORLA has outlined several other reasons why voters should be allowed to weigh in on a sales tax on meals:
Astley concluded, “At the very least, the people of Cannon Beach deserve to vote up or down on this sales tax on meals. An even better solution for the City of Cannon Beach would be to consider an Economic Improvement District or similar mechanism where the burden of raising revenue falls more broadly than on just the struggling local restaurants.”
The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association is the leading business association for the foodservice and lodging industry in Oregon, which before COVID-19 provided over 180,000 paychecks to working Oregonians.
Guest Blog | Let us Nudge
Our beloved Oregon restaurant industry is slowly making a comeback and that is good news for everyone! Other states are also letting restaurants get back to full capacity, as they are trying to recover lost revenue during the pandemic. But new issues are slowly arising as several documented articles online discuss how customers want to stay longer, so the need for these restaurants to turn their tables is required more than ever. We are also hearing everyday how restaurants across the country have started using time limits for their customers. Some customers may not like this, but the opportunity to help this industry is something we should all be thinking about, for now and the future.
We all enjoy dining out at restaurants and don’t ever want to feel rushed by any means. Time limits can work, but maybe there is something else for the long run. What if there was a way our favorite restaurant could offer customers a secure, seamless, and subtle “nudge” to help us help them turn their table faster, especially if they were finished with their meal? What if there was a way where we could help the Oregon restaurant industry seat more customers, especially during busy times? What if the restaurant had an option to actually incentivize the seated customer finished with their meal to help turn their table?
Again, it is positive to see restaurants slowly coming back to full capacity, but the need to serve more customers can really help Oregon restaurant owners with their bottom line moving forward. Reservation systems are great, and they help restaurants fill seats. But sometimes the systems lag when seated customers haven’t left their table. This tends to build up the bottleneck in the entrance area, which happens often in popular restaurants. Large chain restaurants get extremely busy as well, where anxious customers are waiting with pagers and devices to get seated. Most of the time, they are waiting for the seated customer finished with their meal, to turn their table to get seated. Again, no one ever wants to feel rushed, but a restaurant incentive could help improve table turnover efficiency.
Research and data have shown that customers are usually satisfied by incentives such as a discount, coupon, or free food or drink item, if needed. Of course, the restaurant can offer this incentive, though it is a fine balance to not rush them or get them upset and lose them for future visits, negative social media reviews, etc. Ultimately, it is up to the seated customer to accept the incentive willingly and help turn that table for the waiting customers.
Restaurants have fixed costs, the same amount of rent, minimum staffing needs for the kitchen and floor, etc., that they rely on for their daily operations. Then there are variables that restaurants see such as an increase in sales, more volume of customers, and amount of average check that all account for profitability. These fixed costs stay the same no matter how many customers dine in or not. An incentivized approach can help spread the overhead costs over a larger number of paying customers, which can help the restaurant bring in more revenue.
The opportunity to be busy, turn more tables, make profits, etc. are everything restaurant owners want, especially with the most important item being the wonderful food and drink they provide on their menu. That food and drink experience is the reason we as customers enjoy dining out with our family and friends. But that disheartening feeling steps in when we arrive at our favorite restaurant and the wait line is literally out the door. Again, most of the customers inside have finished their meal, and are enjoying social conversations. But maybe that restaurant incentive could help them turn their table a bit quicker, so others that are waiting can enjoy it as well.
The restaurant has choices regarding whatever incentive they want to give, be it a discount off the bill, or a coupon for another visit, etc. The seated customers can accept or deny this incentive, as they choose. Turning more tables for the Oregon restaurant industry can help recover revenue lost during the pandemic. This recovery can help now and for the future, as the opportunity to turn tables at Oregon family-owned, casual-chain, and fine dining restaurants, will improve the dining experience for all. Visit letusnudge.com to explore opportunities. | Rehan Khanzada, Let us Nudge
This guest blog was submitted by Let us Nudge. For more information on guest blog opportunities, contact Marla McColly, Business Development Director, Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association.
Guest Blog | Dell Technologies
Data, data everywhere and not a drop to drink. Study reveals businesses are struggling to reconcile conflicting data realities caused by overwhelmed technology, people, and processes.
In 2016, Dell Technologies commissioned our first Digital Transformation Index (DT Index) study to assess the digital maturity of businesses around the globe. We have since commissioned the study biennially to track businesses’ digital maturity.
Our third installment of the DT Index, launched in 2020 (the year of the pandemic), revealed that “data overload/unable to extract insights from data” was the third highest ranking barrier to transformation, up from 11th place in 2016. That is a huge jump from the bottom to close to the top of the ranking of barriers to digital transformation.
These findings point to a curious paradox–data has the potential to become businesses’ number one barrier to transformation while also being their greatest asset. To learn more about why this paradox exists and where businesses need the most help, we commissioned a study with Forrester Consulting to dig deeper.
The resulting study, based on a survey with 4,036 senior decision-makers with responsibility for their companies’ data strategy, titled: Unveiling Data Challenges Afflicting Businesses Around the World, is available to read now.
Candidly, the study confirms our concerns: in this data decade, data has become both a burden and an advantage for many businesses–which one depends on how data-ready the business might be.
While Forrester identifies several data paradoxes hindering businesses today, three major contradictions stood out for me.
1. The Perception Paradox
Two-thirds of respondents would say their business is data-driven and state “data is the lifeblood of their organization.” But only 21% say they treat data as capital and prioritize its use across the business today.
Clearly, there’s a disconnect here. To provide some clarity, Forrester created an objective measure of businesses’ data readiness.
2. The “Want More Than They Can Handle” Paradox
The research also shows that businesses need more data, but they have too much data to handle right now: 70 percent say they are gathering data faster than they can analyze and use, yet 67 percent say they constantly need more data than their current capabilities provide.
While this is a paradox, it’s not all that surprising when you consider the research holistically, such as the proportion of companies that are yet to secure data advocacy at a Boardroom level and fall back to an IT strategy that can’t scale (i.e., bolting on more data lakes).
The implications of this paradox are profound and far-reaching. Six in 10 businesses are battling with data silos; 64 percent of respondents complain they have such a glut of data they can’t meet security and compliance requirements, and 61 percent say their teams are already overwhelmed by the data they have.
3. The “Seeing Without Doing” Paradox
While economies have suffered during the pandemic, the on-demand sector has expanded rapidly, igniting a new wave of data-first, data-anywhere businesses that pay for what they use and only use what they need–determined by the data that they generate and analyze.
Although these businesses are emerging, and doing very well, they’re still relatively small in number. Only 20 percent of businesses have moved the majority of their applications and infrastructure to an as-a-service model–even though more than 6 in 10 believe an as-a-service model would enable firms to be more agile, scale, and provision applications without complexity.
Achieving breakthrough together
The research is sobering, but there is hope on the horizon. Businesses are looking to revise their data strategies with a multi-cloud environment, by moving to a data-as-a-service model and automating data processes with machine learning.
Granted, they have a lot to do to prime the pumps for a proliferation of data. Still, there is a path forward, by firstly modernizing their IT infrastructure so they can meet data where it lives, at the edge. This incorporates bringing businesses’ infrastructure and applications closer to where data needs to be captured, analyzed, and acted on–while avoiding data sprawl, by maintaining a consistent multi-cloud operating model.
Secondly, by optimizing data pipelines, so data can flow freely and securely while being augmented by AI/ML; and thirdly, by developing software to deliver the personalized, integrated experiences customers crave.
The staggering volume, variety and velocity of data may seem overpowering but with the right technology, processes and culture, businesses can tame the data beast, innovate with it, and create new value. | Sam Grocott
For more information, visit The Data Paradox page and to learn more about the solutions and services that can help your organization break through the data paradox.
For even more information and to get in contact with Dell Technologies, feel free to reach out to Steven Shipe, ORLA’s dedicated point of contact and account manager via email at Steven.Shipe@dell.com or visit www.dell.com/ORLA for program discounts.
Sam Grocott is the Senior Vice President of Business Unit Marketing for Dell Technologies.
This guest blog was submitted by Dell Technologies. For more information on guest blog opportunities, contact Marla McColly, Business Development Director, Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association.
Guest Blog | BYOD, Inc.
Most of the conversations I am having with restaurant colleagues these days involve any number of terms: RRF, PPP, Covid-19, recovery, consumer confidence, and many more. However, at my own restaurants the conversations center around one thing: staffing. In 25 years, I’ve never seen an employment pool as shallow as it is right now. While the economy is seeing wonderful recovery (the unemployment rate fell by another .3% last month adding almost 550K jobs, and the economy grew by 6.4% in Q1 and continues to skyrocket), we in the hospitality industry are not experiencing the same boom. Reuters reports that 5.6% of restaurant workers quit their jobs in April (an all-time high according to Gordon Haskett Research Advisors) and the bureau of labor statistics shows the hospitality industry came out of April still down more than 2.8 million workers from where it was pre-pandemic, with an unemployment rate of 10.8% compared to the national level of 5.5%. On top of that, I haven’t spoken to an operator in months where the phrase “severely understaffed” doesn’t come up.
Though there are multiple drivers (unemployment benefits, governmental pandemic regulations, large wage increases in industries that weren’t shutdown, etc.) behind this situation, and we can all debate them until we are blue in the face. The reality of the situation is that a smaller and shallower hospitality employment pool is here to stay. With that sobering fact readily apparent after the last several months, we also are hearing a lot from “experts” stating the only way to attract workers back is to raise wages. With efforts from groups like the IRC as well as state and national government to push a $15/hour minimum wage it seems a bit like the industry is being pushed into accepting this new reality by bully pulpit and the peanut gallery. The problem seems insurmountable, especially considering the fact that industry wide we lost 110,000 restaurants permanently last year and almost $240 billion. However, the building blocks of an alternative solution to “raising wages and just keep raising them” are already in many other industries.
In the 1950’s the manufacturing and agricultural industries employed 1 in 3 Americans workers, but in 2009, it was closer to 1 in 8. What happened, you ask? Automation. We began to use machines, computers, and finally data to evolve how those industries work. Now I know I just lost some of you. For years people have told me how backward the restaurant industry is, and how technological behind we are. We’ve been slow to adopt new technologies and sometimes burned by the ones that we have. I hear the argument that while spending millions of dollars on technology might work for a big factory doing $1 million dollars a day in revenue, it can’t work for a restaurant doing $1 million in revenue annually. But that supposes that automation requires large physical infrastructure, expensive software programs, large implementation teams, and a number of other hurdles that make it very difficult for an industry that is made up of more than 60% independent operators to consider implementation.
Automation is something that the restaurant industry has championed for years (just ask McDonald’s), but it has approached it from the standpoint of unit replicability, when what we need to focus on as an industry is how automation applies to a single unit. Simply put, are there tasks that technology can do (perhaps better than humans) that can be easily and inexpensively implemented? The answer is a resounding yes – with machine learning and artificial intelligence. Why couldn’t an AI build a schedule better than an assistant manager? Crunch data and predict sales and staffing at better rate? Coordinate your ordering for you? Essentially remove all of the mundane “office” jobs that an operator deals with on a daily basis so that they can focus on more important tasks? If a manager could skip 50% of their paperwork to spend more time training the limited staff that they already have (because an AI did it for them), could that staff begin to handle a higher workload? If consumer interfaces could start with technology as a welcome funnel (QR codes, AI engaged CRM’s that auto-seat customers) could that allow restaurant to do more with less staff?
In the end, what I believe will come out of the pandemic is not necessarily higher wages, but a greater reliance on technology as an interface between management and staff as well as restaurants and their customers. Technology isn’t the only solution to the current job market, but it certainly seems like a more palatable one. | Samuel Short
Sam is the Chief Strategy Officer for BYOD, Inc., a Restaurant-focused Artificial Intelligence company. Sam also owns a restaurant group in Michigan and has spent the last 25 years in the restaurant industry. He served on the board of the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association for many years.
This guest blog was submitted by BYOD, Inc. For more information on guest blog opportunities, contact Marla McColly, Business Development Director, Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association.
Effective today, June 30, face covering and distancing rules are eliminated in alignment with the full reopening of our economy. Governor Brown’s announcement last Friday was welcome news to Oregon's businesses ready to open back up at full capacity.
Earlier this week we received confirmation from OR-OSHA Director Michael Wood that mask and distancing mandates will be eliminated (with certain exceptions, including health care, public transit, and airports).
However, not all of Oregon OSHA’s COVID-19 requirements are going away immediately. "For the rule addressing all workplaces, examples of measures that will remain in place longer include optimization of ventilation, notification of a positive case in the workplace, and proper steps to take if an employee must quarantine."
Here's more information to pass along:
ORLA has received several questions from members regarding rule updates. Here are a few FAQs that were confirmed:
ORLA will continue to work with Oregon OSHA as part of their rules committee to continue addressing the details involved with unraveling the remainder of the COVID-19 directives.
As always, you can reach out to your ORLA Regional Representative for questions.
There is no light switch. It will take years to build back what was lost.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 25, 2021
Jason Brandt, President & CEO, ORLA
503.302.5060 | email@example.com
Wilsonville, OR– Today’s announcement from Governor Kate Brown announcing a full reopening of Oregon’s economy no later than Wednesday, June 30 is welcome news. Our state’s restaurant and lodging establishments have a long road ahead as small businesses continue the hard work of regaining their footing after 15 months and 13 days of historic and over-reaching government regulation. Permanent closures, workforce access issues, partial re-openings, and ever-changing administrative rules and emergency orders have left a permanent mark on the approach to doing business in Oregon.
“We never could have imagined the gravity and depth to which government regulations would dictate how we live in a free society when industry shutdowns and capacity restrictions first went into effect on Tuesday, March 17 of 2020,” said Jason Brandt, President & CEO of the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association. “Here we are 15 months later picking up the pieces and doing whatever we can to help Oregon’s extraordinary hospitality industry find its identity once again and it will take time. From a workforce access crisis and supply chain constraints to debt accumulation and back rents and mortgages coming due, historic industry challenges remain and will persist in the years ahead.”
To date, Oregon has permanently lost over 1,400 foodservice locations statewide and some lodging establishments remain closed. Both restaurant and lodging operators continue to face wide ranging marketplace dynamics resulting in different realities in different regions of the state. As a rule of thumb, the more reliant a region is on business travel, the harder the economic hit.
“The Portland Metro region in particular will need ongoing support to bring back the top tier hospitality experiences our overnight guests have come to expect in our state’s largest city,” said Brandt. “Our hats are off to our partners at Travel Portland, the Portland Business Alliance, and officials at the City of Portland who are inspiring Portlanders to usher in a new transformative chapter with their ‘Here for Portland’ campaign. Ongoing cleanups, increased office worker mobility, and cultural activities can and will make a big difference. As Mayor Wheeler has said, do not bet against Portland or its people.”
One challenge remains clear statewide – no matter the region, the workforce access crisis is deep and relentless. Restaurants and lodging establishments in all regions of the state are currently forced to reduce operating hours, minimize menu options and cordon off available rooms respectively.
“To put it plainly, there are too many Oregonians on the sidelines,” said Brandt. “And this reality has opened up a new frontline of advocacy activity for ORLA – we must be at the table in assisting our state in addressing the child care deserts that exist in all 36 counties in Oregon, we must address the extension of unemployment benefits to those who are not making a concerted effort to find their next job, and we must protect the rights of our frontline workers who choose to wear a face covering at work and respect that choice and embrace it.”
For more information on the efforts of the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association please visit OregonRLA.org.
The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association is the leading business association for the foodservice and lodging industry in Oregon, which before COVID-19 provided over 180,000 paychecks to working Oregonians. The latest available data for May of 2021 from the Oregon Employment Department shows current employment levels in the accommodations and foodservice industry totaling 153,200 people.
Guest Blog | Portland General Electric
This past year has rocked all of us, but it’s been particularly rough for small business customers. From a world-wide pandemic, a summer of social unrest, wildfires that hit too close to home, and a historical ice storm, small businesses, and especially restaurants, have endured more than their fair share of challenges.
I watched as businesses were forced to change and adapt at a moment’s notice. Many were forced to lay off their staff and face an uncertain future. But even while overcoming these challenges, I was inspired by the creativity and resiliency so many demonstrated – businesses continued to serve their communities and show compassion for their neighbors with an Oregon kind of energy that’s resilient, innovative, and rooted in care for the communities they are in. It’s the kind of energy we celebrate at PGE.
Hospitality, that friendly welcoming nature that we’re so proud of, is the heart of Oregon. We love where we’re from and we all are excited to share our favorite local eats and hot spots. I’ve been touched by the stories of restaurants caring for those most in need and the way that communities have stepped up to support their favorite local joints.
I recently had the opportunity to sit down and visit with four local restaurants throughout the region. During our conversations, I was inspired by the stories these restaurants shared. Despite the numerous challenges, they have come to work every day and continue to be agents for positive change in their communities.
To show appreciation for these restaurants and yours, we’re hosting a restaurant week on PGE’s Instagram the week of July 5. We’ll be sharing the stories of these restaurants and asking our followers to share their favorite local restaurants. Want to get in on this social boost? Share your favorite local restaurant (yours included!) on your Instagram story and tag @PortlandGeneral with the hashtag #RestaurantWeek.
Thank you, ORLA, for being a great resource and unifying force for Oregon’s hospitality industry. As we continue to invest in the future of Oregon, we’re proud to make a $5,000 donation to the Oregon Hospitality Foundation. Keep up the great work!
For more information on resources available for your restaurant, please visit us at portlandgeneral.com/smallbiz. | Warren Parker III, PGE Senior Marketing Strategist SMB
This guest blog was submitted by Portland General Electric. For more information about ORLA and guest blog opportunities, contact Marla McColly, Business Development Director, Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association.
The National Restaurant Association hosted a webinar June 17 to discuss recent developments relating to U.S. DOL/OSHA’s Updated Guidance and the Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS), revised CDC Guidance for Vaccinated Individuals, the EEOC’s recent update of its Guidance for Vaccination and Compliance with the ADA and GINA, and what state and local “Vaccine Passports” mean for restaurants.
[Originally posted March 21, 2021] - In response to a number of inquiries on this subject, ORLA has compiled various sources of information on the topic. Please note, the following information is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice.
The vast majority of content reviewed on this subject urged caution. A number of exceptions exist within mandatory programs, including medical conditions, religious grounds and potential union bargaining (if applicable). Mandatory vaccination programs are subject to state and/or federal oversight (BOLI, OSHA, NLRB, EEOC) and can trigger program review and legal pitfalls, such as violating the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) and a host of potential medical, personnel and personal Data Privacy violations.
Even if successful in navigating the external patchwork of state and federal agencies, an operator that chooses to adopt a mandatory vaccination program must then overcome internal operational issues, such as what steps must be taken when an employee chooses not to be vaccinated, how to then protect the rest of the workforce, reconfiguration of office space, schedule changes and the like.
While mandatory vaccinations are allowed, a mandatory vaccination program is not advisable. The downside seems too great of risk for operators large and small.
Employers are encouraged however to promote employee self-education for vaccination acceptance, support voluntary vaccinations, follow the guidelines of local, city and state health authorities, provide their workforce the flexibility for designated group vaccination schedules and work with local Chambers and trade associations.
Here is a list of resources providing information on vaccines in the workplace:
For questions, please reach out to your Regional Representative.
We welcome industry members' article submissions relevant to the restaurant and lodging industry in Oregon. Association members are primarily considered and encouraged to share expertise and perspective following the guidelines below for submitting an article. Please note, we do not publish press releases.
The criteria outlined below in no way guarantees your submission will be published at all, or that a submission will appear in any particular issue. The submission should satisfy the criteria, but is entirely subject to editing for length and content.
To submit an article for consideration in any of ORLA's communication vehicles please email Editor, Lori Little, at LLittle@OregonRLA.org.
Guest Blog Submission Guidelines
To submit a guest blog post, contact ORLA’s Director of Business Development Marla McColly at 503.428.8694. Guest blog posts are considered sponsored opportunities.
Blueprint includes funded and unfunded tools to accelerate the industry’s economic recovery
Washington, D.C. (May 26, 2021) - The National Restaurant Association today sent a State and Local Blueprint for Rebuilding to the National Governors Association, the United States Conference of Mayors, and the National Council of State Legislators, encouraging their members keep the restaurant industry at the forefront of their conversations about how to accelerate the recovery of their economies.
“State and local lawmakers have the power to make a real difference in their local industry’s recovery,” said Mike Whatley vice president for State Affairs and Grassroots Advocacy for the Association. “Decisive action on this proposal would provide critical tools and opportunities for the hardest hit restaurants struggling to find a new normal. They could help address some of our long-term obligations and the recruitment challenge, which we expect will continue into our busiest months later this summer.”
The Blueprint includes 12 detailed steps lawmakers can take, including:
“The Association appreciates the efforts of leaders at the state and local level to work with the restaurant industry throughout the pandemic. Their creativity and commitment to our survival has been vital to the survival of restaurants large and small in every community. As we now begin to rebuild our industry, we encourage all legislative leaders to work with the Association and our 52 state restaurant association partners on ideas to help restaurants thrive once again in the future,” concluded Whatley.
Read the full letter here.
For more information about the Association’s advocacy, go to RestaurantsAct.com.
About the National Restaurant Association
Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises 1 million restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of 15.6 million employees. We represent the industry in Washington, D.C., and advocate on its behalf.
June 15-16 2021, Travel Oregon will virtually host the 36th annual Oregon Governor’s Conference on Tourism. The Oregon tourism economy has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic. In 2020, of the 178,200 payroll jobs lost in Oregon, 81,600 of those (or 47%) were in the leisure and hospitality sector. And while visitors to Oregon spent $6.5 billion across the state in 2020, this was a 49.5% decline in visitor spending from 2019.
The 2021 Oregon Governor’s Conference on Tourism is an opportunity for approximately 500 travel, tourism, and economic development professionals to gather (virtually)to find new inspiration, dive deep into educational topics, and look ahead as we begin to rebuild the tourism industry and Oregon’s economy after a tumultuous year.
Educational breakout session descriptions are now accessible on the conference website. Sessions include exciting speakers that will focus on destination stewardship, working with elected officials, amplifying your role with the local tourism ecosystem and more. Additional information will be added as it becomes available.
We invite you to register for the 2021 Oregon Governor’s Conference on Tourism here.
Opening Session Keynote
To kick off this year’s conference, Frank Cuypers, senior strategist at Destination Think, will unpack the future of travel and tourism after COVID-19, and the changes and opportunities that lie ahead. So many aspects of the tourism industry remain unknown: How will travel and tourism look after Covid? What changes will we see and what other challenges might the tourism industry face in the future? How do we lead destinations through and out the other side of the pandemic? This discussion will inspire destinations to think about ways they can evolve and build resilience.
Reflecting on the past: Building an equitable tourism economy for the future
The conference will close with a session that showcases tourism industry leaders as they reflect not only on the impact the pandemic has had on their businesses but also how they have continued to be committed to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in their work. Hear stories from our tourism leaders and partners who have both championed DEI for their work and their communities.
Exciting partnership with Burgerville and DoorDash at conference
Travel Oregon has partnered with Burgerville and DoorDash to support local restaurants and food suppliers during the Governor’s Conference. Burgerville’s suppliers include Oregon favorites like Alpenrose Dairy, Camas Country Mill, Carman Ranch, Champoeg Farm, Country Natural Beef, Face Rock Creamery, Jacobsen Salt, Liepold Farms, Our Table Cooperative, and Rogue Creamery.
By registering for the conference by May 26, you will receive a $15 gift card to enjoy lunch on June 16 or as you’re able. We will miss you joining us in person, but we encourage you to continue to support the resiliency of our local restaurants, incremental efforts can go a long way.
Stakeholder Workshop: A Transformational Strategy for Oregon Tourism
Following the 2021 Oregon Governor’s Conference on Tourism, Travel Oregon invites you to join us for interactive workshop with our strategic planning firm, Destination Think, on June 16 from 3:30-5 p.m.
As we launch into the development of Travel Oregon’s longer-range visioning and strategic planning effort, it is vital we hear from you: Oregon’s tourism industry. We would love to gain diverse perspectives that have the potential to drive change and help inform the foundation of our four-year transformational strategic plan. Your participation is crucial and valuable to help transform the future of tourism in Oregon. Register for the stakeholder workshop here.