Oregon ProStart Awards Nomination Forms
ORLAEF ProStart Invitational, Sponsored by Sysco Forms
Download useful forms, templates and documents to help you participate in the ORLAEF ProStart Invitational, sponsored by Sysco.
With ProStart®, everything needed for fun, interesting and informative instruction is provided for you. Industry-driven curriculum blends culinary and management lessons into each textbook and offers flexibility in scheduling. Learning objectives include: Critical thinking and problem solving, communication, creativity, global awareness, and health literacy. A comprehensive list of program objectives is available here.
To order ProStart® curriculum for your school, contact Sue Smith at 800.462.0619.
ProStart® prepares you to explore a wide range of career opportunities. Careers in nutrition, hospitality management, viticulture, product development, agriculture, culinary arts and customer service are just a few of the options for ProStart® students.
The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association Education Foundation (ORLAEF) and the National Restaurant Association are proud to offer Oregon ProStart seniors a scholarship opportunity in support of post secondary education.
Oregon is the perfect place to further your studies, with industry related courses of studies available statewide:
More information on Culinary Scholarships.
A Powerful Voice on Key Industry Issues
ORLA’s government affairs team is dedicated to promoting and protecting the foodservice and lodging industries of Oregon. By advocating for public policies that sustain our industry, and by working on behalf of local businesses, we are the voice of hospitality at the local, state and national levels.
Fighting Against Additional Labor Regulations
Small businesses in Oregon are still adjusting to increasing minimum wage rates, paid sick leave, and Oregon’s new scheduling law. As a result, ORLA will fight any attempts to implement Paid Family Leave during the 2018 session. Laws relating to Paid Family Leave are currently on the books in both Washington and California and Oregon’s legislative leadership have signaled an interest in implementing paid family leave legislation.
Fair Payment of Lodging Taxes by Lodging Intermediaries
ORLA, in partnership with the League of Oregon Cities, will be pursuing a legislative fix to make sure online travel platforms like Airbnb pay all applicable lodging taxes when they are collecting payment for the lodging stays. The legislative fix would treat online travel platforms the same way as other lodging companies collecting revenue for lodging stays including other online travel companies like Expedia and Priceline.
Advocating for Oregon’s Tourism Investment Plans
ORLA continues to fight for the appropriate use of lodging tax dollars at the local, county, and statewide levels as required by law. Since July 1, 2003, 70% of any new or increased portion of lodging taxes must fund tourism promotion or tourism related facilities. The remaining 30% can be spent on general fund expenses as designated by the taxing jurisdiction. ORLA believes in the full preservation of the 2003 law and will protect its integrity as one of our most crucial tools in growing and enhancing Oregon’s tourism export economy.
Fighting for Tip Pooling
Tip pooling has become a legal spider web, given the complicated state-by-state variations. In a move to further clarify the law, restaurant industry trade associations filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) asserting the DOL has overstepped its bounds in revising regulations on tip pooling. Although the DOL has announced they propose to rescind the regulations that bar tip sharing, we continue to work with the National Restaurant Association and other partners to take our case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Ensuring Fairness for Short-Term Rentals
Illegal short-term rentals endanger customers’ lives, ignore existing laws and it’s unknown whether they are reporting and remitting the proper lodging taxes. The State of Oregon should pass legislation that requires short-term home rental properties to register with their local taxing authority before they are marketed through online exchange sites. Additionally, for jurisdictions that have a business-licensing program in place, operators should secure the proper licenses and report and remit their room tax collections.
In partnership with Oregon Winegrowers, ORLA will be pursuing stronger protections for restaurant operations against predatory music licensing investigators. In order to make sure restaurants are paying appropriate fees for licensed music playing in their establishment, music licensing companies enlist the help of investigators who have been reported to harass and threaten restaurant operators. ORLA is interested in tightening up rules and regulations for how operators can be approached about their music licensing arrangements to assist in the amicable resolution of laws governing the commercial use of copyrighted music.
Advocating for Comprehensive Immigration Reform
Comprehensive immigration reform must include all aspects of immigration issues—border security, worker supply and employee verification—which means that Congress is the only political body which can actually solve the immigration problem. State and local governments only make a solution more complex by trying to pass their own laws. ORLA is opposed to random, individual pieces of immigration reform and supports Congress working together on a national level to enact comprehensive reform.
Defending Lottery Retailers and Commission Rates
ORLA is the only major trade association in the state that has defended lottery retailers since the introduction of video lottery in Oregon. ORLA defends commission rates and protects against extreme regulatory attacks, such as increased casino expansions off tribal reservations. ORLA is supportive of gaming as entertainment, adjunct to the hospitality industry.
Protecting Small Businesses from Local Jurisdictional Control
One of the biggest threats to independent businesses in Oregon is the desire by local governments to control private employer-employee relationships. By creating laws that mandate employee benefits within the boundaries of a city or county, businesses face a patchwork of regulations that differ from one location to another, and workplace fairness is compromised. ORLA believes that enacting a preemption that labor practices are set at the state level gives businesses stability and offers a better environment for economic growth.
Strengthening Oregon’s Roads and Bridges
ORLA believes in the importance of a comprehensive transportation plan that funds needed infrastructure projects throughout Oregon. The flow of people, goods, and services is crucial to the success of Oregon’s hospitality industry and the experience of Oregon’s visitors.
Stay up-to-date at OregonRLA.org/GA.
OregonSaves is Now Open for Business Statewide
Due to the success of the pilot phase of the program, OregonSaves is now open to any employer of any size with employees in Oregon. The deadlines for employers to register remain the same, but employers do not need to wait for them to join the program and start facilitating savings for their employees. Later this month, OregonSaves will send a notice to every employer in Oregon with instructions about how to join early.
To date, more than 60 employers from later waves have seen the benefits of getting an early start and have already signed up. As Judi Randall, finance director at Douglas County Multi-Family Property Management Corp. in Roseburg, explained, “The process to get the program established was minimal, the OregonSaves software is easy to navigate, and the time and effort it took was worth the benefits the employees will gain from the program.”
State Plan for Employees Launched July 2017
OregonSaves, a state-run retirement program for employees of businesses who do not currently offer a retirement savings plan, officially launched in July when 11 employers selected for the first pilot program began payroll deductions for participating employees.
November 15, 2017 was the deadline for employers with 100 or more employees in Oregon to either register to facilitate OregonSaves or certify that they are exempt from the program. If an employer missed the deadline, they should reach out to the OregonSaves Client Service team at (844) 661-1256 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 2015, the Oregon Legislative Assembly enacted legislation, which created the Oregon Retirement Savings Board. House Bill 2960 tasked the Board with the establishment and oversight of a state-run retirement savings program providing employees with a flexible opportunity to save through payroll deductions and the ease of getting started with automatic enrollment and annual contribution escalation.
The new public website for OregonSaves is now live at OregonSaves.com and includes general information about the program as well as specific information for savers at Saver.oregonsaves.com and for employers at Employer.oregonsaves.com.
Employees in the pilot program of OregonSaves have already saved more than $146,000 since July. Approximately 72 percent of the nearly 2,500 eligible employees have chosen to stay in the program. Most employees are contributing the standard 5 percent of their gross pay. Currently, the average contribution rate is 4.7 percent, and the average contribution is approximately $57 per pay period.
Employers must collect (payroll deduction) and remit the payroll withholdings each pay period to the State. This will create additional paperwork for employers to deal with staff. There is no cost; the plan is funded into IRA's.
OregonSaves is scheduled to roll out in phases starting with larger employers. The registration deadlines for employers are as follows:
a. An employer employing 100 or more employees: November 15, 2017 (audit required)
b. An employer employing 50 to 99 employees: May 15, 2018
c. An employer employing 20 to 49 employees: December 15, 2018
d. An employer employing 10 to 19 employees: May 15, 2019
e. An employer employing 5 to 9 employees: November 15, 2019
f. An employer employing 4 or fewer employees: May 15, 2020
Ten days before the next deadline, employers who have yet to respond will receive a reminder notice. Employers are encouraged to register or certify as soon as possible to avoid the rush at the end. If an employer needs assistance, they should reach out to the OregonSaves Client Service team at (844) 661-1256 or email@example.com.
Employers who register to facilitate OregonSaves will have 30 days after registration to add all of their employees to the system. Once employees are added, the system sends them notice about the program. Employees then have 30 days to decide if they want to participate. After that 30-day period ends, employees who haven’t opted out will be automatically enrolled, and payroll deductions should begin on the first pay date afterward.
For example: Company A registers on Nov. 15. They need to enter their employees by Dec. 15. If they upload their employees on Dec. 15, their employees will have until Jan. 14 to decide if they want to participate. Company A will then begin payroll deductions on the next pay date after Jan. 14, such as Feb. 1 if they pay employees on the first day of the month.
The Oregon Retirement Savings Board has officially completed a second stage of rulemaking, which considered technical matters that were not in the first set of rules for OregonSaves, such as the process for employment services. The second stage of rulemaking began on June 14, 2017 and included three rulemaking advisory committee meetings. After holding a public rulemaking hearing on September 19, 2017 and considering input and feedback from a wide range of stakeholders, the Board filed updated rules with the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office on October 24, 2017. The updated rules have been posted on the Board’s website at Oregon.gov/retire/Pages/Rules.aspx.
More information and a complete list of frequently asked questions for employers and employees can be found at Oregonsaves.com/home/overview/faqs.html. | ORLA
FAQ’s about OregonSaves
The Law Regarding Service Animals and Public
There was a story in the news recently about a dog chasing a cat. Why was that newsworthy? Because it was a service dog attending a showing of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical “Cats” with its owner, and the cat in question was one of the shows characters (which, if you’re not familiar with the show, was a person dressed as a cat, not an actual cat). Hilarity probably ensued, to the embarrassment of the dog’s owner.
That story reminded me of an issue that sometimes vexes restaurateurs and other business owners – how to deal with customers who make questionable claims that an animal is a service animal, and insist on bringing it onto the premises. This article summarizes the legal rights and responsibilities of customers and business owners in those situations. Businesses are, of course, free to be more accommodating than the law requires.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Oregon’s equivalent law requires “places of public accommodation” (including hotels, inns, restaurants, bars, and other establishments serving food or drink) to allow persons with disabilities to bring “service animals” onto the premises. Contrary to popular belief, though, every animal does not qualify as a service animal just because the customer says so.
First, the ADA currently limits the types of animals that can qualify as service animals to dogs and miniature horses. Oregon’s law is also limited to those two types of animals unless and until administrative rules are enacted that expand the definition to include other animals. Other states’ laws may vary, but, in Oregon, those are the only two animals that qualify as service animals.
Second, the animal needs to be individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the individual with a disability. This includes physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disabilities. The work or tasks performed by the service animal must be directly related to the individual's disability.
Examples of specific tasks the animal can be trained to perform include, among other things:
Providing general emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship does not qualify. This means that emotional support animals, comfort animals, and therapy dogs are not considered “service animals” under the ADA unless the animal is also trained to perform some other specific task related to the individual’s disability.
The law does not require a license, jacket, tag, or other means to identify an animal as a service animal. Nor does it require medical verification or a prescription.
When confronted with a situation where an individual wants to bring a claimed service animal onto the premises, the business can only ask the following two questions of the individual:
The business needs to take the individual at their word, and allow the service animal on the premises, if the individual answers “yes” to the first question and states a specific task or type of work the animal has been trained to perform.
The individual cannot be charged a fee to bring a service animal onto the premises; even a pet fee charged to other customers, because service animals are not “pets.”
If the service or assistance animal causes damage, then the owner can be charged for the damage so long as the business normally charges other customers for the damage they (or their pets) cause.
Unruly and disruptive animals need not be accommodated. The owner is responsible for supervising and controlling the service animal. The animal must also be housebroken.
If the animal behaves in an unacceptable or threatening way and the handler does not control the animal, then the business can ask that the animal be removed from the premises. For example, a service dog that repeatedly barks or growls at other customers, destroys property, climbs on the furniture unnecessarily, makes a mess on the carpet, or chases an employee (even one dressed like a cat), could be excluded from the premises if the individual cannot or will not control the dog.
The business can also require that the service animal be kept on a leash, harness, or other tether unless the individual is unable to hold a tether because of a disability or its use would interfere with the animal’s safe and effective performance of work or tasks. Even then, the service animal must still be kept under control by some other means, such as voice commands.
The owner is responsible for the care and feeding of the service animal. The business does not need to provide food or water for the animal, or clean up after it. That is the responsibility of the owner.
If a service animal is excluded, the business must still give the individual the opportunity to obtain goods, services, and accommodations without having the service animal on the premises. | Shane P. Swilley, Partner, Cosgrave Vergeer Kester LLP
Access additional compliance information and resources for the hospitality industry, including ADA regulations and downloadable posters at OregonRLA.org/Compliance.
• Oregon/ADA “Sorry, pets are not allowed” Poster
• U.S. Department of Justice, ADA Requirements for Service Animals
• Disability Rights Oregon, Service Laws in Oregon
Traveling across the state the last 18 months and meeting with our members and others in the hospitality industry, one issue has continued to dominate the discussions: labor shortage.
Oregon’s economic growth is outpacing the rest of the country, people are moving here and visiting here in record numbers and unemployment is extremely low. Those factors are all contributing to fewer people seeking employment or looking to change jobs or companies.
But in Oregon, we are also experiencing the consequences of recent regulations and laws passed making it difficult for businesses, small and large, to continue to grow, expand or even survive.
In the last two years, Oregon’s legislature has passed an annual minimum wage increase, paid sick leave law, scheduling law (the first state in the country to do so) and implemented a mandatory retirement savings plan administered by the State. Alone, these laws and regulations would be difficult to adapt to and implement. Taken together, they have challenged many businesses to find new and different ways to adjust to so much regulation so quickly.
To make matters worse, in Oregon, like seven other states, there is no tip credit for restaurants with servers. What this means is that unlike 43 other states, Oregon pays its servers at least the minimum wage plus tips - with many restaurants paying above minimum wage. Unfortunately, without a tip credit and with increasing minimum wage hikes annually, Oregon restaurants are left with little choice but to raise prices. Restaurants already have razor-thin margins; 95% of every dollar taken in by restaurants, on average, goes into the customers’ experience through food costs, labor costs or operating costs, so employers have few options. But as prices increase, a customer’s check increases and tips increase, raising wages even higher for servers and bartenders.
Finally, the U.S. Department of Labor changed a rule from the Obama Administration disallowing tip pooling with the back of the house employees like cooks and dishwashers in states without a tip credit. The rule previously allowed for non-tip credit states like Oregon to utilize tip pooling to help with the wage inequity between front of the house and back of the house. Surveys indicate more than half of customers in full-service restaurants believe the tip is already being shared among all staff.
As labor costs increase and a scarcity of labor continues to persist, employers will need to look for innovative ways to solve those problems.
Some businesses are eliminating the need for “brick and mortar” locations and are moving to online stores. Some restaurants have moved from full-service to counter-service, cutting down on the number of employees needed.
Another way has been the use of technology. McDonald’s has announced self-order kiosks for customers to use when ordering, robots can now be used to deliver coffee and towels to hotel guests, and some full-service restaurants are using tableside tablets to allow customers to not only order and pay for food but play games as well.
A recent report from the Portland Business Alliance notes that automation is a bigger threat to foodservice and accommodation jobs which are at a higher risk than healthcare professionals. Certain geographic areas, especially in rural Oregon, are also at higher risk of losing jobs to automation.
But the news is not all gloomy. Steve Brown, a futurist, speaking at the recent Oregon Leadership Summit noted the highest category of job growth is “Other” and went on to say there are jobs in the future we haven’t even created yet and ones that will be created because of technology. Automation and robotics will likely create new jobs for the industry that have them working alongside robots.
For every kiosk or tablet used, there will need to be someone to manufacture new ones, repair existing ones and write the software for the programs. Robots may be used to deliver towels, but someone will still need to put the towels in the robot’s “hands” and keep up the maintenance.
Many of these technological solutions will still need human interaction. Customers will still want to talk with the person in charge when they have a complaint or personally pass along a compliment to the chef.
Technology or automation and people can work together to make sure we still provide customers with what they want to keep them coming back.
UPDATE December 12, 2017: The Department of Labor today announced a 30-day extension to submit comments on the rule; you now have until February 5, 2018 to submit comments. On December 4, DOL announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding the tip regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Under the proposed rule, tip pooling would be permitted in businesses that do not take a tip credit, or regard servers’ tips as a portion of their income. This reversal of the 2011 prohibition would help decrease wage disparities between front-of-house and back-of- house employees. After the public comment period has closed, the department will issue final rules, reflecting the input it receives.
Take Action! Submit your comments on the proposed tip pooling rule today!
October 25, 2017: DOL has submitted a proposal to roll back an Obama-era rule restricting the use of tip pools to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget for review, however, the rule making notice does not provide detail on the proposal.
August 2, 2017: The National Restaurant Association filed a supplemental brief reinforcing the Tenth Circuit Court’s decision invalidating barring employers from including non-tipped workers in tip pools. The Tenth Circuit’s ruling explicitly rebuked the earlier decision out of the Ninth Circuit, with the Tenth Circuit panel saying that the US Department of Labor exceeded its authority by issuing the rule and that restaurants didn’t owe workers tips that never belonged to them. The NRA and the other groups said the Tenth Circuit’s ruling “conflicts directly” with the Ninth Circuit decision at issue and underscores the need for the US Supreme Court to intervene, review and issue a final ruling. Our hope is that the Supreme Court will still hear the case in order to prevent any future administration from reissuing such a rule and to address concerns regarding retroactive liability for our members from private lawsuits for the period the rule was purportedly in place.
On July 20, 2017 it was announced that the U.S. Department of Labor intended to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in August to rescind the current restrictions on tip pooling by employers. "The announcement this week by the DOL is an absolute game changer," said Jason Brandt, President & CEO of ORLA. “This is a welcome relief to Oregon employers in the hospitality industry who have been handcuffed by a 2016 appellate court decision barring them from utilizing tip pools.”
On June 30, 2017 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit ruled tips belong to the employer, who can presumably either keep them or distribute them in whole or part to employees as it sees fit. This directly conflicts with the Ninth Circuit’s decision last year in Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Ass’n v. Perez, (9th Cir. 2016), pet for cert. filed, (Jan. 19, 2017) and likely sets up a showdown this fall in the U.S. Supreme Court.
On January 19, 2017, the NRA's Restaurant Law Center filed a Cert Petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a case, National Restaurant Association, et al. v. U.S. Department of Labor, brought by the National Restaurant Association (NRA), the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA), the Alaska Cabaret, Hotel, Restaurant and Retailers Association, and the Washington Hospitality Association. The case challenges the Department of Labor’s anti tip pooling stance that prevents cooks and dishwashers from receiving tips.
Bottom line, continued caution with respect to tip pooling policies is advised until a final ruling is decided. Read more from Fisher Phillips.
Tip Pooling Options to Consider (download pdf):
Tipped employees are those who customarily and regularly receive more than $30 per month in tips. Tips are the property of the employee; only tips actually received by the employee may be counted in determining whether the employee is a tipped employee. The requirement that an employee must retain all tips does not preclude a valid tip pooling or sharing arrangement among employees who customarily and regularly receive tips. Learn more in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Given the current uncertainty regarding a final decision from the Court on tip pooling in Oregon, ORLA recommends consideration of the following options.
1. Eliminate tip pooling with BOH employees immediately.
By immediately reverting to tip pools that only include “customarily and regularly tipped employees” restaurateurs are choosing to avoid any additional liability that could be brought forward by a private lawsuit.
UPSIDE: Protecting yourself from any private claims instigated by employees against your restaurant who feel their tips are now being pooled unlawfully. Only you can determine the real risk being avoided here.
DOWNSIDE: If the case is heard by the Supreme Court and ruled in our favor, tip pooling with BOH employees would remain legal. If that happens and you have already changed your policy to eliminate BOH tip pooling, then it may be more difficult to change the policy yet again to the original policy you had in place before the most recent ruling.
2. Keep tip pooling in place with BOH employees until ORLA hears from the U.S. Supreme Court.
Because the Ninth Circuit Court denied our rehearing and a motion for a stay was granted, you have until at least December 5 to comply with the Department of Labor rules regarding tip pooling. Our stay remains in effect until we hear from the Supreme Court. This means you have until the mandate is lifted to fully comply with the rules and eliminate BOH involvement.
UPSIDE: You have time to inform, educate and put into practice a new tip pooling system that does not include BOH employees.
DOWNSIDE: A private claim could be instigated by employees against your restaurant who feel their tips are now being pooled unlawfully. Only you can determine the extent of that risk.
3. Eliminate tips altogether.
UPSIDE: Tipping continues to invite litigation in the court system. Replacing tipping with service charges and/or menu price increases and moving to more standardized wages across the entire restaurant operation provides a compensation model less likely to draw challenges from lawyers or organized labor.
DOWNSIDE: Oregonians are
accustomed to tipping and may be displeased with mandatory service charges. In addition, front-of-the-house workers could feel demoralized and frustrated by this different approach that results in less pay overall.
4. Consider alternative ways to share tips.
Examples include adding a kitchen gratuity line to checks or using a tip jar (if the jar stipulates that the tips are for all employees - or shared amongst all employees).
UPSIDE: Restaurateurs can give their customers a choice about whether the tip that they provide goes only to the server, or if they want the tip (or a portion of) to go to the kitchen staff.
DOWNSIDE: Customers are not accustomed to seeing more than one tip line on a check and may feel obligated to add more than they are comfortable with.
Q: What if my servers decide they want to voluntarily tip-out to the BOH employees? Is that allowed?
A: Yes, voluntary tipping-out is allowed. To protect your restaurant however, ORLA recommends servers be asked to provide management with a signed note or letter created by the server stating they are voluntarily tipping out to BOH employees. As a side note, voluntary tip pools are frequently under scrutiny and challenged as not being truly voluntary. A signed document alone will not ensure that someone cannot still challenge that type of tip-out as involuntary.
For additional questions, contact Greg Astley, Director of Government Affairs, at 503.682.4422.
July 20, 2017 - DOL intends to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to rescind the current restrictions on tip pooling by employers. SCOTUS granted DOL an extension through September 8, 2017.
May 3, 2017 - SCOTUS issued an Order, further extending DOL's timeline through July 10, 2017.
Mar. 2017 - SCOTUS granted DOL an extension through May 11, 2017.
Jan. 2017 - We submitted a petition for rehearing to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Sept. 2016 - The 9th Circuit denied our petition for a rehearing, however, 10 judges issued a blistering dissent.
Feb. 2016 - The 9th Circuit reversed their position and ruled in favor of the DOL, ignoring their own precedent in the Woody Woo case.
2013 - We won again in federal district court.
2010 - We won a decisive victory on this issue in Cumbie v. Woody Woo Inc., before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Update: Thanks to lodging operators and tourism partners who mobilized with ORLA to share their concerns, the Umatilla County Commissioners decided against pursuing a lodging tax increase. Your efforts made a difference!
Umatilla County is considering a new Transient Lodging Tax of 2% on all overnight lodging facilities. ORLA submitted a letter to the Board of Commissioners asking for a delay in considering the new tax until appropriate communications can take place with their partners operating these lodging facilities. We do not feel an adequate amount of time to fully vet the need for a new tax was given.
ORLA encourages lodging operators to provide comment on the County’s plan and attend one of the following meetings where this plan will be discussed:
Thursday, Dec. 7, 2018 @7:30 a.m.
Nookies, 125 N. First, Hermiston
Friday, Dec. 8, 2018 @ 10:30 a.m.
Umatilla County Courthouse, Room 114
216 SE 4th St., Pendleton
Industry members are encouraged to attend a meeting and/ or sharing your comments / concerns with County Commissioners on this proposal.
We’re Not Convinced Lodging Operators Want A County TLT
To date, there is no evidence that lodging operators are asking Umatilla County to assist them in growing their revenue and their bottom line by implementing this new tax. We question the need for the tax to be considered in the first place.
For questions, contact Greg Astley, Director of Government Affairs.
Over the course of the past few years, our professional staff at the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association has traveled around the state holding regional meetings with Oregon's small businesses operating within the hospitality industry. As a result of those experiences we know firsthand the degree to which our small businesses feel challenged by the United States Department of Labor's 2011 rule.
As costs rise within restaurant operations, Oregon's restaurants must in turn raise prices. The result of those realities is a growing disparity between Oregon's front-of-the-house workers and back-of-the-house workers. Many operators are paying back-of-the-house workers at rates of $15-17 an hour given the marketplace demand for those positions. The front-of-the-house is typically making Oregon's minimum wage plus tip income which can result in an hourly wage of $30-$50 an hour and sometimes more. We routinely receive reports that front-of-the-house workers can make as much as three times the wage as those working in the back-of-the-house.
In Oregon, the minimum wage will continue to rise every year on July 1 through the year 2022. What we're hearing from our industry is that something must be done to stop the regulatory forces that are driving wages and people further away from each other within the walls of our restaurants. If something is not done our wage gap between workers who are all working together to service the customer will continue to grow and result in cultural, workforce, and small business challenges that escalate and make Oregon a more difficult place to operate a small business.
We know the average small business restaurant in our great country makes 2-5% profit meaning for every $1 million in sales, the restaurant owner makes $20,000 - $50,000 in profit. Our industry operates in one of the slimmest profitability environments in the country. At the same time, restaurants in our country provide one of the best places to build skills and values in a professional setting. Many restaurant operators are proud to provide Americans with their first job or their second chance. They pave the way for career building opportunities and provide employees with the opportunity to build a strong work ethic, a keen attention to detail, and the ability to hone their interpersonal skills.
Rescinding the 2011 rule would be a decision to sustain the viability of Oregon's small business full service restaurants. We know already that if this were to happen, many operators would implement a modest tip pooling arrangement as the minimum wage continues to go up for Oregon's front of the house workers who aren't making minimum wage. As the minimum wage goes up for servers (even though they aren't making anywhere close to minimum wage) operators would have the ability to modestly increase the tip pool with back of the house workers to counteract the server wage increase. Those actions can create higher wages for Oregon's very crucial back of the house workers, keep Oregon's servers at significant wages, and allow the restaurant operator to continue pursuing their goal of 2-5% profit on overall sales.
There has been significant impacts on Oregon's restaurants as a result of the 2011 rule and we hope to have the opportunity to assist our small business operators in their efforts to build a culture that showcases the value of all their workers through the payment of more balanced wages.
For questions, contact Jason Brandt, President & CEO, or Greg Astley, Director of Government Affairs, at 503.682.4422.
When you have bed bugs, there’s only so much you can do to kill them by yourself. Apart from contacting a professional for immediate help, there are a few ways to deal with bed bugs. Review this guide by Jen Miller of Jen Reviews for steps you can take.
The City of Portland’s challenge with the homeless crisis is not new, but it’s a growing issue demanding more attention from the City, especially in light of recent outcries from downtown businesses. The issue was a hot topic at ORLA’s Portland Lodging Alliance meeting this week, where several area lodging operators discussed recent talks with city leaders and next steps businesses can take. Hoteliers have seen an increase in antisocial, threatening and criminal behavior among homeless individuals outside (and in some cases inside) their hotels and are looking for real solutions from city leaders.
Earlier in November, ORLA President and CEO, Jason Brandt, and Government Affairs Director, Greg Astley, along with a few restaurant owners and hoteliers, met with Mayor Ted Wheeler and Commissioner Nick Fish to discuss the industry’s concerns and how the city plans to address homelessness. While the Mayor conveyed, they are taking steps including increasing community policing, he’s asking for help from the business community. Greater enforcement and new ordinances regulating homeless behavior on city streets need to be considered, and industry members are encouraged to keep pressing city leaders to find solutions.
At an invitation-only meeting on November 21, city leaders gave several business owners the opportunity to voice their concerns about the growing homeless problems in downtown Portland. Mayor Ted Wheeler, Portland Police Chief Danielle Outlaw and Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese participated in the town hall. In addition to more officers on the streets, some parts of downtown labeled "high pedestrian zones" may soon ban overnight camping, including on sidewalks and doorways.
The homeless issue is not isolated to downtown Portland, it’s everywhere, and lodging properties near the Portland Airport are also speaking up and taking action. ORLA is working with the PDX Airport Lodging Group in conjunction with Travel Portland’s Community Action Committee to address some of the issues such as car break-ins, vandalism, aggressive panhandling, and drug use. Lodging operators were provided forms to use in reporting incidents that include the potential loss of revenue and/or cost of the incident to their property. With the information gathered, ORLA will continue to push the City of Portland to prioritize and take action in those areas where businesses are being affected by these incidents.
If you’d like to get involved or have questions regarding the issue, contact ORLA’s Director of Government Affairs, Greg Astley at 971.224.1502 or email Astley@OregonRLA.org.
As we get ready to give thanks for all we’ve received this year, many of us are preparing to pay that good fortune forward to those less fortunate.
This Thanksgiving, several of our area restaurants are giving back to community members in need. They are contributing a combination of financial and in-kind donations and are encouraging their customers and the public in general to join them in the effort. Giving new meaning to the words “Food is Love,” here is a sampling of just a few restaurants in Oregon trying to make a difference for the neighborhoods they serve:
On Nov. 23, the German pub/biergarten will hold its annual Thanksgiving Day Feast. The restaurant will open its doors at 6 p.m., to serve its annual free turkey dinner. Nearly 100 pounds of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and sides will be on the menu. Even though the event is free, guests are encouraged to donate to those in need, AND also bring a side dish to share.
Salt & Straw
For the third year in a row, the Portland-based scoop shop is teaming up with Urban Gleaners, a nonprofit hunger relief charity. For every Thanksgiving Celebration series pint sold, Salt & Straw will donate another one to Urban Gleaners. The goal: increase the number of people Urban Gleaners is able to serve and bring holiday cheer to those in need.
On Thanksgiving Day, the Portland-based, gluten-free, paleo and vegan-friendly cafe and catering company is closing all of its locations except one – in Sylvan Heights, where it will serve a family-style meal to guests at 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. What’s on the menu? Guests can choose between a turkey, salmon or stuffed delicata squash entrée, plus dessert. Advance tickets are $40 per adult and $12 per child. Tickets on Thanksgiving Day are $45 per adult and $15 per child. All proceeds will benefit the Oregon Food Bank. And if you can’t make the dinner, but still want to contribute, learn more about the Oregon Food Bank and make a donation.
In response to an article from Willamette Week illustrating an ongoing attempt to change business at the Portland International Airport, ORLA expresses its commitment to Port of Portland’s current policy and its approach to elevating the Oregon hospitality experience in ways that drive our statewide economy.
Protecting Tourism Promotion and Economic Development
The government affairs team from ORLA was in Salem everyday during the 2017 Legislative Session, actively engaged in bills that could have and will affect our industry. Read about our legislative wins and savings for the hospitality industry.
Eroding 70% for Tourism Promotion
Establishing Ocean Beach Fund
Film & Video Tax Credit
Excise Tax on Coffee
Unused Gift Cards
Smoking Porch Enclosures
View a summary of bills ORLA tracked in the 2017 session and learn what they mean for your business.
Working together with the Lottery, we can do good things!
For industry members offering Oregon’s Video Lottery, Responsible Gambling training by the Oregon Lottery helps you maintain a positive business environment by promoting healthy habits among customers who patronize your business.
A staff trained in Responsible Gambling:
With Responsible Gambling training you can:
Start training now with a short Responsible Gambling video.
Hotel and restaurant operations depend on energy-intensive equipment—and energy expenses can be quite inhospitable. Energy Trust offers cash incentives for investing in energy-efficient equipment, including high-efficiency motion sensor nightlights, packaged terminal heat pumps, high-efficiency gas fryers, gas convection ovens, vent hoods, ice machines and more. Learn more about incentives and get started here.
The following equipment purchases will be eligible for a bonus incentive until December 31, 2017. Invoices and applications need to be submitted by January 5, 2018.
In other words, instead of an incentive of $800 per vat for your ENERGY STAR certified Gas Fryer, you will receive an incentive of $1,100 per vat.
Follow these steps to complete your application:
1. 120P Incentive Application Form: Completely filled out with signature typed or signed (Click for 120P)
“Site Address” is where the equipment is installed
“Mailing Address” is where the incentive check will be sent
Incentive checks are mailed within 60 days from receipt of all complete and accurate information and documentation of an application
2. W-9: This is the most commonly forgotten piece. (Click for W9) The W-9 must have:
A legal business name (or legal personal name) listed under the appropriate type of entity (e.g., individual, LLC, LLP, corporation, government)
A clearly written EIN (or SSN)
3. Itemized Invoice: For the qualified equipment, including model numbers.
4. Utility Information for the Site Address:
If applying for incentives for Gas Equipment (including gas water heating): Provide a copy of the site’s gas bill (NW Natural, Cascade Natural Gas).
If applying for incentives Electric Equipment: Provide a copy of the site’s electric bill (Portland General Electric or Pacific Power).
You may submit your completed Form 120P, W-9, invoice, and utility bill(s) via fax, email, or mail. It is recommended that you keep a copy of your application, documents, and submission of your application for your records.
Energy Trust of Oregon Existing Buildings Program
Attn: Standard Incentive Processing
615 SW Alder Street, Suite 200
Portland, OR 97205
If you are a restaurant owner or manager and need help or have questions, please contact Rob Hall at 503-413-9168 or firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are interested in learning more about additional incentives we may have available please check us out at http://energytrust.org/BringUsIn.
After a district court overturned the Obama-era overtime regulation in August and the Department of Labor (DOL) decided not to contest the ruling, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals made the final ruling last week by closing the pending case that first put a temporary hold on the rule last November. As the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Law Center was part of the management team that oversaw the legal strategy, we're pleased the controversial rule is behind us, as it could have done significant damage to both employers and employees. The NRA has put together comments for the DOL in response to their request for information (RFI). ORLA will keep you informed when updates are available.
By Michael Davis
The Inside Scoop on Modern Marketing Trends: Understanding Your Customer's Quest for Perfection
Before delivering the Monday morning keynote address at the 2017 ORLA convention, Ben Powers positioned a virtual reality camera about 10 feet from the stage. Doing so allowed the staff at Visiting Media, the futuristic company Powers leads in Portland, to remotely monitor the breakfast proceedings in Bend. They did it in a way that makes the standard video conference seem positively quaint.
The keynote webcast provided a 360-degree, 4K, immersive experience for viewers 165 miles away. All they missed were the cinnamon buns. In his 45-minute talk, Powers provided dazzling visual evidence of the persuasiveness that advanced digital media holds to inform potential customers. The new tools include virtual reality, 360-degree photography, 3D modeling and TrueTour Technology, a one-stop visual hub and dashboard developed by Visiting Media. The system has the potential to exponentially increase digital outreach to dining and lodging consumers.
Powers is bullish on virtual reality's potential to transform hospitality industry marketing. Within 10 years, he says, VR will be the vehicle of choice to plunge potential customers into an active exploration of restaurants and lodging choices. From examples he shared from the stage, VR can be the difference between merely looking for a place to stay to feeling transported a destination for an up-close examination -- up, down, around, and behind.
At Visiting Media, the future is now. The company is already providing immersive experiences for clients in the Northwest and beyond. While traditional media remains vital, Powers says, a wave of change beckons companies striving to reach consumers fixated on their screens for guidance. Powers hardly needed to remind attendees that contemporary media consumers are voracious and impatient. "Waiting is a thing of the past," he said. Even a momentary loss of Internet signal can seem like a major annoyance to potential customer in search of an answer.
Just as the marketing world rapidly adopted smart phones, image sharing and texting, so too will VR become embraced and normalized. To that end, Jason Brandt, ORLA's president and CEO, described a goal to make Oregon the national leader in immersive marketing for the leisure traveler. To get there, Visiting Media and ORLA have collaborated on a strategy to get ahead of the curve and stay ahead. "We have to be first in line with immersion experiences," Brandt said.
Donate, Don't Waste: Steps to a Successful Food Donation Program
Any restaurant owner wishing to institute a program to donate wasted food needs to understand it will take substantial effort to launch and sustain it. But the rewards for investing in greater food security for a community could far outweigh the initial and ongoing costs in dollars and time. That was the message delivered by Allison Condra and Ben Edel, panelists for a frank and forthright breakout session on day two of the 2017 ORLA Convention. It was titled "Donate, Don't Waste: Steps to a Successful Food Donation Program."
Condra, an Portland attorney, is an expert in the laws regarding the safe donation of food to non-profit organizations. Edel is the newly installed restaurant manager at the convention's host hotel and convention center, Riverhouse on the Deschutes. Changes and federal and state law protect restaurants, hotels, motels caterers from liability, Condra said, adding that there are tax incentives for doing so. But she warned, "Gross negligence is not protected. Donors must inspect the food to make certain it is wholesome."
Riverhouse recently made an agreement with Bethlehem Inn, a well-regarded non-profit in Bend, to deliver regular shipments of food that would otherwise have been wasted. Often, the chef will take such ingredients to create special meals for donation. "He made a meatloaf the other day that I wanted to eat," Edel said.
To comply with food safety standards, Riverhouse had to invest in portable bins and coolers for the donations and come up with a reliable delivery system. "We didn't budget for it," Edel said. "We have been dealing with the realities as they come along. I'd say it has taken a couple of thousand dollars to get up and running. And that's not counting the extra labor and time for packing up the food. It's all about temperature with food safety, so we always need to be mindful of that. I didn't really start with a plan. It was more like 'Have balloons. Need darts.'"
Edel said he was compelled to do something, knowing that 40 percent of the food that's prepared in the United States goes to waste. "I'm trying to walk the walk," he said. Audience member Gianni Barofsky, of Eugene's Beppe & Gianni's Trattoria, said that his kitchen staff has been scraping food off plates into a colander rather than down the food disposal. Stored in bins, the waste is picked up by a pig farmer and used as silage. "This practice is actually a practice in Parma, Italy, that goes back hundreds of years in the creation of Parmesan cheese. In the first phase of making it, the waste becomes ricotta cheese. The second phase of waste is fed to pigs." The third phase gets shaved over pasta. Barofsky said that members of his kitchen staff purchased a pig from the local farmer who receives the kitchen scraps. They had it butchered and shared the meat. If you think about it, that's quite a recycling process.
Learn more about Convention.
Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association Takes Legal Action Against the City of Bend to Protect Lodging Tax Dollars Intended for Tourism Promotion
[September 26, 2017 - Wilsonville, OR] – The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA) filed a lawsuit today against the City of Bend for diverting the City’s room tax revenues away from tourism promotion and reducing the allocation for tourism promotion below what is required by law.
ORLA is challenging the validity and implementation of a recent Bend City Ordinance which amends the percentage of room tax revenue the City spends on the promotion of tourism and improperly diverts restricted room tax revenues to road maintenance.
“Cities must follow the restrictions in place for disbursement of the lodging tax revenues they collect,” said ORLA President & CEO Jason Brandt. “Unfortunately, Ordinance NS-2291 results in Bend being out of compliance with state law. The vast majority of tourism revenues in Bend can already be spent on general fund purposes so we hope our lawsuit results in acknowledgment from the courts that this recent act is in violation of Oregon law and must be undone.”
Bend City Ordinance NS-2291 violates state law (Oregon Revised Statue 320.350) in one or more of the following ways:
a) 9% of the City’s 10.4% city room tax rate has a set of restrictions for appropriate use of those funds. Within the 9% city room tax rate, the City is statutorily required to spend 30 percent on tourism promotion and tourism related facilities.
b) The remaining 1.4% city room tax rate is subject to a statutorily required 70% investment in tourism promotion and tourism related facilities.
“Lodging operators should be recognized as financial partners of local governments,” said Brandt. “As tourism becomes more successful, so does the tax revenue provided to local governments to invest in the projects important to local residents.”
A report from Longwoods International shows for every $1 invested in tourism promotion, $237 is generated in economic impact and $11 in tax revenue to the benefit of Oregon residents.
ORLA is engaged on a state and local level, helping local municipalities realize that shifts in tourism promotion investments can do more harm than good. Brandt argues there is a direct correlation between tourism promotion and a community’s own tax revenue. “Tourism promotion dollars are crucial to keeping Oregon’s visitor destinations top of mind. Local communities stand to lose significant tax dollars for their general funds if tourists choose to travel elsewhere.”
In 2003, the Oregon State Legislature passed HB 2267, mandating 70% of new or increased local lodging taxes be directed to tourism promotion or tourism related facilities. At that time, the City made the commitment to fund tourism promotion with 30% of the initial 9% tax rate in Bend. In 2013, the City’s residents approved Measure 9-94, which increased the City’s room tax rate from 9% to 10.4%. That 1.4% increase in tax rate is subject to the restrictions established in HB 2267. This past May the City passed an ordinance, in violation of the law, changing the allocation of tourism dollars.
“The City claims their new allocation of lodging tax dollars still follows state law. This is incorrect,” said Brandt. “There is an error in the total investment they are required to make in tourism promotions and/or facilities.”
The hospitality industry sees transportation investments as a crucial contributor to Oregon’s continued economic success. ORLA looks forward to working with Bend and other communities to help identify appropriate revenue streams to fund transportation investments including the unrestricted portion of lodging taxes.
For more information, contact ORLA President & CEO, Jason Brandt, at 971.224.1501.
The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association represents approximately 2,500 members, and advocates for over 9,900 foodservice locations and 2,200 lodging establishments in Oregon. The foodservice and lodging industry is responsible for 173,700 jobs bringing in over $10.8 billion in annual sales and generates over 54% of the annual tourism dollars spent in Oregon.
Restaurateurs in Portland, Oregon are banding together to raise funds and collect donations on behalf of Hurricane Harvey victims. Here are some of the events that have been and are being held to help those in need:
Through Sept. 3, the Austin-style taco shop’s locations donated all of its sales from its taco and drink specials. The proceeds went to the American Red Cross and the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.
Le Pigeon and the Little Bird Bistro
The French-Northwest themed restaurants donated 5 percent of their Aug. 31 sales to the United Way of Greater Houston, in an effort to help with Harvey relief efforts.
The restaurant said it raised more than $4,000 on behalf of the hurricane victims. Starting Sept. 1 through sell out, Texas-born owner Melissa McMillan gave 100 percent of sales from her Texas Barbecue Cheeseburgers. The money went to the Houston Food Bank. Each burger, plus two sides, is $12 each.
The Country Cat Dinnerhouse & Bar
Owners Adam and Jackie Sappington, along with the Little Green Pickle’s Carrie Welch, organized a Sept. 8 fundraiser featuring participation from 24 restaurants.
Throughout the month of September, Lardo will donate all proceeds from its sandwich sales to the Houston Food Bank.
Gladstone Street Pizza
The pizzeria donated a portion of its sales during the first week of September to “those affected by Hurricane Harvey.”
Help protect the future of your business with the Oregon Political Tax Credit
Would you rather give your hard-earned money to the state government or the only statewide organization representing the lodging industry?
Oregon has a unique political tax credit allowing individuals a no-cost way to support the political cause of your choice and direct a portion of your tax dollars in a way YOU choose.
Most people can give up to $100 for joint filers or $50 per individual to an Oregon political action committee and that amount is credited back to you*.
This is a credit, not a deduction like your home mortgage interest deduction or contributions to a charity. This is a dollar-for-dollar credit. In other words, if your total state refund for 2016 was $100 and you made a political contribution of $100 to a qualified political committee, your refund would then be $200.
Contributions must be dated no later than December 31st, 2017 to receive the credit on your 2017 tax return and you can only give up to the maximum amount (so choose wisely…). Finally, the Oregon Political Tax Credit is not a refundable credit. So, if your taxes are already zero, then you won't get your $50 back!
Less than 10 percent of those eligible take this credit to help support something they believe in.
So the question remains, would you rather contribute $50 or $100 to ORLAPAC and help support our efforts to elect business-friendly candidates who understand what it takes to run a lodging property in Oregon or would you rather give that money to the state government?
ORLAPAC is the only PAC fighting exclusively for hospitality interests at the Capitol, but we need your support to succeed. Thank you for considering the opportunity to support your industry!
To make a donation to ORLA’s PAC, send us a check or call 800.462.0619.
*Due to a recent change in Oregon law, individuals with adjusted gross income over $100,000 or joint filers with combined income exceeding $200,000 no longer qualify for the Oregon Political Tax Credit. Seek help or advice from a licensed professional for more information.