ORLA Update - February 28, 2023
Bill Tracking / Third-Party Delivery Fee Cap / Capitol Day
From ORLA's Advocacy Update
The following are just a couple highlights from the bi-weekly Advocacy Update email sent to all ORLA members. This members-only communication dives deeper into some of the bill activity, industry positions, and upcoming work sessions for key legislative bills we're engaged on. If you are a member but are not receiving the Advocacy Update emails, please reach out to Info@OregonRLA.org.
ORLA Day of Advocacy Fosters Relationship Building
Over 300 hospitality industry members, state agency representatives, legislators and staff participated in a day of activities co-hosted by ORLA and AAHOA February 21. The Capitol Day Assembly provided for Q&A sessions with invited representatives from several state agencies. After meetings at the Capitol, attendees enjoyed hosted food and beverages at the Taste Oregon Legislative Reception presented by DoorDash. The reception provided industry members the opportunity to meet our elected leaders face to face in a casual setting. Read more.
Looking for more advocacy information or wanting to engage a bit more on the issues? ORLA members are welcome to join our weekly Government Affairs meetings (via Zoom) by completing this Contact Us form.
The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA) keeps members informed and educated on important issues impacting the hospitality industry. If you are not yet a member of ORLA, please consider joining the association in order to access the latest industry intelligence for businesses like yours. Visit our Membership page or reach out the ORLA Regional Representative nearest you.
Guest Blog | Healthy Hospitality
We know the importance of having health insurance and its impact on our well-being. Health insurance not only helps prevent and manage chronic conditions but also helps avoid expensive medical bills.
If you have employees who have health insurance through their state Medicaid program, starting in April they could get an unexpected notice that their coverage will be dropped within 60 days.
Due to a pandemic measure, over the past three years, states stopped checking if people who are enrolled in Medicaid are still eligible. Today, if their income is higher or a child turned 18 for example, they could be disqualified for current Medicare benefits.
Starting in April and over the next twelve months states are tasked with auditing eligibility. It is expected that Medicaid redetermination will find approximately 15-18 million currently enrolled Medicaid subscribers no longer qualify and will be removed from the program.
Those people will likely receive a notice in the mail and if they miss it, they could find themselves unknowingly without coverage. Don’t let this happen; be a resource for your employees and let them know Medicaid redetermination is happening and they could be affected. During a pre-shift meeting teach them to be proactive and to get help from Healthy Hospitality’s free insurance matching service for hospitality employees. Much like an exchange but more streamlined with live experts ready to help, the free service will ensure employees get the lowest-priced health care insurance plans to choose from and understand the maximum federal subsidies they qualify for. Your understanding of this process can help ensure your team stays insured and protected. | By Leslie Teague, Healthy Hospitality Business Consultant
Employers may request a free break-room poster about this topic and learn more about the health and wellness solutions offered by Healthy Hospitality by visiting Healthy-hospitality.org or emailing Leslie Teague.
This guest blog was submitted by Healthy Hospitality. For more information on guest blog opportunities, contact Marla McColly, Business Development Director, Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association.
Capitol Day Assembly, Taste Oregon Events Provide Members with Face to Face Connections
[Wilsonville, OR - 2/22/23] – Over 300 hospitality industry members, state agency representatives, legislators and staff participated in a day of activities supporting Oregon's hospitality industry. The morning kicked off with several discussions on industry-related issues during ORLA's Capitol Day Assembly. Attendees engaged with questions for invited representatives from state agencies including Oregon Employment Department, Paid Leave Oregon, Oregon Lottery, and BOLI.
The afternoon was left open for members to meet with legislators and staff in pre-arranged meetings at the Capitol.
The day culminated with the Taste Oregon Legislative Reception co-hosted by ORLA and AAHOA and presented by DoorDash. This favored legislative event provided a unique opportunity for industry operators to meet face to face with their legislators in a casual forum, conducive for building connections over some great food and beverage.
“ORLA’s partnership with AAHOA is of crucial importance as we work to mobilize our very busy members in support of Oregon’s hospitality industry,” said Jason Brandt, President & CEO, Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association. “Our Taste Oregon reception is one of the ways we create value for our members across the state. Without a doubt, relationships matter.”
Attendees from both ORLA and AAHOA had the opportunity earlier in the day to hear more about ORLA's legislative agenda and discuss talking points on some of the key issues that have potential impact on restaurant and lodging operators.
A huge thank you to the restaurant and beverage companies who provided great tastes including:
For more information on ORLA's legislative priorities, or to view bill tracking, visit OregonRLA.org.
ORLA is the leading business association for the foodservice and lodging industry in Oregon. A not-for-profit trade organization, ORLA represents over 3,000 member units and advocates for over 10,000 foodservice locations and over 2,400 lodging establishments in Oregon.
The hospitality industry is the second largest business sector behind healthcare. In 2021, our industry provided over 153,700 jobs to working Oregonians and brought in over $10.9 billion in annual sales for Oregon.
The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association Partners with Adesso Capital to Expedite Cash Assistance for Oregon’s Foodservice and Lodging Industry
[Wilsonville, OR - 2/13/23] – The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA), the association representing Oregon's foodservice and lodging industry, is partnering with Adesso Capital to offer the foodservice and lodging industry assistance expediting federal relief funds which can be used for operating capital, payroll, inventory, or other expenses.
The assistance includes filing for the Employee Retention Credit (ERC), a tax credit available to businesses that suffered reduced operating capacities or loss of revenue from COVID-19 restrictions. The credit stems from payroll taxes paid in previous years and offers up to $26,000 back per W-2 employee.
Applications for ERC benefits pertaining to payroll paid from March 2020 - December 2020 must be sent in no later than April 15, 2024. For payroll paid Jan. 2021 - Sept. 2021, applicants have until April 15, 2025, to file.
"We are pleased to be teaming up with Adesso Capital to provide our members with the tools and resources they need to claim this tax credit and ensure their business survives moving forward,” says Jason Brandt, President & CEO, ORLA. “With many small businesses still struggling to stay afloat, it is crucial that these tax credits be made available so that they can continue to provide jobs and support Oregon’s economy.”
“I feel for the business owners who weathered COVID restrictions and kept their doors open; they’re truly the champions of the American Dream and we should all ensure they have every tool possible to keep going,” said Damon Maletta, founder of Adesso Capital. “We at Adesso feel it's our job to help businesses take advantage of the ERC, especially because there are no restrictions on how the funds are used, giving power back to the people who know how to use these funds the best. It’s a passion of mine, and I still get excited every time we get that ‘Approved!’ notice for a new client.”
Together, ORLA and Adesso have helped the Oregon foodservice and lodging industry receive over $11.4 million in refunds, infusing the local economy with vital resources that reduce unemployment and create new opportunities for community growth. Adesso’s clients average a return of $150,000 per business.
Current ORLA members can learn more here. Businesses interested in joining the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association can find more details at OregonRLA.org.
About Adesso Capital
With over $1 billion secured, Adesso Capital helps US-based businesses secure the critical funds they need to thrive. Thousands of business owners across the country have trusted Adesso to help fund their dreams with government relief programs or financing options like term loans, lines of credit, and SBA loans.
Guest Blog | Dell Technologies
Mobile is the New Normal
With February standing as the lone month to celebrate Black History, many Black-owned restaurants are experiencing heightened traffic through their doors. In 2020, people across the country came together to support local restaurants that faced having to close their doors for good due to the pandemic. Among the local restaurants, were Black-owned restaurants that needed a bit more financial support than the average franchise or chain restaurant. Some cities, including Portland, have adopted “Black Restaurant Week” to support the Black-owned restaurants that have been staples in the communities for decades. In 2023, restaurants that survived the loss of business have had to adjust to the industry’s new normal of having more flexible, mobile options.
During Black History Month, Black-owned restaurants can prepare for the increased business by operating with technology products that will help provide the best service to incoming customers. The average customer prioritizes timely and friendly service, in addition to tasty food options on a menu. To provide the quickest service possible, it is recommended that the technology that is used to run the day-to-day operations is updated every 5-6 years. In a restaurant, point of sale systems are the bread and butter (no pun intended) for payment options. In previous decades, restaurant owners have dealt with only operating business from bulky cash registers and systems that lagged when trying to do basic functions. Those days are long gone. Over the years, Elo Touch Solutions (a Dell Technologies partner), has worked to create quick, modern, and minimalistic models for the restaurants that care about simple and aesthetically pleasing systems. These systems include kiosks and handheld mobile devices, that assist with reducing the length of lines during busy times of the day such as lunch and dinner hours.
A busy lunch line that is almost out of the door. There are cashiers up at the front assisting customers as quick as they possibly can, however, the line continues to lengthen which affects the customer service. Customers begin to grow frustrated with the wait time, and tension begins to build. The cooks are doing their best to cook the food and serve it accurately based on each order that was placed. There are few employees tasked with assisting during lunchtime. They pick up their mobile devices and begin assisting customers in line. Having mobile options give the opportunity for more cashiers to engage in one-on-one conversation with each customer, while also providing personal recommendations from the menu that the customer wouldn’t traditionally order. Customers are more likely to ask questions and there’s not as much pressure.
For the customer that doesn’t have much time during their lunch break, they are likely looking to place an order to carry back to work. Having a kiosk available, gives them an option to place the order independently instead of spending additional time waiting in line.
Black-owned restaurants have an opportunity to compete with large restaurant corporations. This is the perfect month to embark on a journey of growth, and technology can be used to lead the way. | Lechelle Delaughter, 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 | Risk Strategies’ Fournier Group
If you hurry the hiring process to get a heartbeat in the kitchen, you may end up buying yourself a worker's compensation claim. Here are six tips for mitigating this risk in restaurants.
1. Evaluate the ongoing impact of the pandemic
Hiring managers continue to face a talent shortage in the hospitality field. During the height of the pandemic, numerous workers left the industry altogether or relocated permanently to geographic areas with fewer public health restrictions.
To stay afloat and meet pent-up customer demand, many employers began hiring any reasonable applicant, including people without prior hospitality experience. Short staffing also led to quick onboarding, sometimes without in-depth safety training. Frequency and severity of workers’ compensation claims began to climb from avoidable risks such as improper lifting technique, knife injuries, and equipment accidents.
If you’ve seen an uptick in claims, analyze the details to determine where additional training and mentoring could reduce the risk of similar incidents in the future.
2. Look holistically at employees’ needs
To maximize margin, some restaurants keep wages as low as possible and hours under the threshold for employee benefits. As a result, many hospitality workers cobble together two or more part-time jobs to cover basic living expenses. They may be working odd hours, seven days a week, short on sleep, and barely scraping by. Tired employees make more mistakes and have more accidents. And when employees are living hand-to-mouth and scared, they sometimes become litigious, which can add to your claim exposure.
To mitigate risk, get creative in helping employees meet basic needs. Though it’s counter-intuitive, investing in the wellbeing of your workforce can boost margin by reducing attrition, absenteeism, workers’ comp claims, and associated expenses.
In high cost-of-living areas, some employers provide subsidized housing as an employee benefit to ensure their people have a place near work to sleep and recharge. Compare the cost and tax benefits against a potential workers’ comp claim, and you may find the math creates a win-win for you and your employees.
3. Choose restaurant workers who fit your culture
Finding right-fit team members starts with articulating your unique value proposition, customer service philosophy, and the workplace culture you want to create. What draws customers to you? Generally, patrons are looking for more than a tasty burger or clean carpet. They may want to create memories, celebrate a special event, have a romantic evening, enjoy music, laugh, relax, build community, or other goals. You want employees who understand your vision and are enthusiastic about bringing it to life.
The old story of the bricklayer applies here. When describing their jobs, do your team members say they are laying bricks or building a cathedral? Cathedral builders are problem solvers, innovators, and people who persevere through challenges to build something great. If they do get hurt on the job, these employees are less likely to prolong a workers’ compensation claim. They want to get back to cathedral building as soon as they can, because they’re excited to be part of your mission.
4. Incent employees to refer their friends for jobs
When people are enthusiastic about their workplace, they’re eager to tell friends and family about open positions. Since employees know their friends’ strengths and weaknesses, they’re in a unique position to identify strong candidates.
Ask your employees, “Who do you know that would be a good fit on our team and enjoy working here?” A formal employee referral program gives team members a chance to create their own community. They earn bonuses for each referral hired. Some employers create a tiered system where employees receive additional dollars once their referrals reach three months, six months, and one year of employment.
Having friends in the workplace increases the likelihood of sticking with a job. Strong employee retention boosts your margin because recruiting and training costs drop. Also, more job experience typically equates to fewer accidents. If a workplace injury occurs, your team’s strong camaraderie can inspire a faster return to work.
5. Create a supportive return-to-work program
When you have the right people on your staff, they often want to get back to work as soon as possible after an injury, because they miss the community and sense of purpose.
An innovative return-to-work program can mitigate workers’ compensation costs, while also protecting against the depression that some people experience when injured. Even if an injured employee is unable to do their regular job, they may be able to contribute meaningfully in a different way. For example, you can provide a chef with a laptop to write down recipes or develop a training manual for new hires. Consider engaging an injured employee as a mentor for a newer team member.
Each return-to-work scenario involves a three-way partnership between the employer, employee, and doctor. You need a clearly defined process for how you’ll work together to brainstorm options and determine creative accommodations.
6. Enlist employees to share their skills and best practices with the team
In one restaurant, an experienced chef honed his knife before every use and was fastidious about knife safety. His supervisor tapped him to train the whole staff.
Each of your team members brings unique skills to the job that could be helpful for other employees. Engaging them to teach and mentor conveys that you value what they bring to the table. You elevate the knowledge of your whole team, and employees feel their contributions matter, which can boost engagement and retention.
When peers reinforce safety, through educating and watching out for each other, you reduce your risk of workplace accidents.
Restaurant risk management involves more than insurance
In hospitality, your hiring decisions and corporate culture can affect your workers’ compensation costs down the road.
Mitigating this risk requires active management — an ongoing process of analysis and innovation. If you view risk management as a transaction, passive purchase, or product you buy once a year, you can end up hurting your bottom line.
Sometimes, managing risks requires behavior change on the part of restaurateurs. This can involve rethinking how you recruit, train, manage, and motivate your team. As these changes produce a better customer experience and safer workplace, you protect your margin and set the foundation for robust profitability.
The contents of this article are for general informational purposes only and Risk Strategies Company makes no representation or warranty of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy or completeness of any information contained herein. Any recommendations contained herein are intended to provide insight based on currently available information for consideration and should be vetted against applicable legal and business needs before application to a specific client.
This guest blog was submitted by Risk Strategies’ Fournier Group. For more information on guest blog opportunities, contact Marla McColly, Business Development Director, Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association.