Update: “Cap and trade” has been a contentious issue for the last several sessions, with Republican lawmakers staging walkouts over the issue multiple times. With no quorum to vote on legislation, Oregon lawmakers adjourned in March 2020 for the short session. We will update you on future movement on the “cap and trade” issue.
House Bill (HB) 2020, the “Cap and Trade” bill, would raise prices on users of natural gas which include restaurants, lodging properties and manufacturers around the state. This legislation could increase the cost of living for Oregonians by $50 to $125 a month, give appointed officials the authority to increase taxes without a vote of the people or Legislature and drive thousands of jobs away from the state.
Oregon is one of the lowest carbon emitting states in the nation, and we’re getting lower. We just enacted ground-breaking new climate policies on transportation and electricity generation, we should give these new laws a chance to work.
Without an exemption for natural gas, hotels and restaurants will pay significantly more money. Along with increases in minimum wage, paid sick leave and possibly paid family leave, the hospitality industry is being crushed under over-burdensome regulations and there is no sign it’s going to end anytime soon.
Please consider emailing members of the Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction and let them know you oppose HB 2020 which will hurt your business and increase prices to customers. Urge them to Vote “No.”
To submit testimony to Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction:
ALERT 2.12.19 - The Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction announced four public hearing dates for House Bill 2020 - tell your lawmakers that we can’t afford cap and trade.
ORLA encourages restaurants and hotels to testify at the hearings about how this would impact their operations. More information about the proposal as well as talking points are available upon request. If you are interested in providing testimony, contact Greg Astley, ORLA Director of Government Affairs, at 503.851.1330.
The joint committee will host public hearings where Oregonians will be able to voice their opinions and ask questions about the bill. Additionally, there will be a public hearing on February 25 where the Salem-based committee will accept live, remote testimony from around the state.
Reasons to Oppose House Bill 2020: Cap and Trade:
The five dates and locations are listed below:
These feedback opportunities are in addition to two public hearings on February 15 and 18 in Salem before the committee.
March 18, 2020
Contact: Glenda Hamstreet, Executive Coordinator
Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association
Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association responds to COVID-19 impacts on restaurant and lodging industries
Wilsonville, OR. – In light of increasing concerns around the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and recent executive orders from the Governor’s office, the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA) is making every effort to address challenges facing the restaurant and lodging industry.
The lodging and foodservice industry is the second largest private-sector industry in Oregon behind healthcare and is one of the hardest hit by coronavirus-related shutdowns and policies. ORLA represents approximately 2,600 members, including over 10,220 foodservice locations and more than 2,000 lodging establishments in Oregon.
“The social distancing mandates put into place by the Governor are an important step toward ensuring the health and safety of all Oregonians,” ORLA President and CEO Jason Brandt said. “However, we cannot forget about the many families and workers whose lives depend on restaurants, lodging operations, bars, wineries and brewpubs. The foodservice and lodging industries are already seeing unprecedented numbers of layoffs as restaurants temporarily close their doors and hotels see significant declines in occupancy.”
ORLA is encouraging Oregonians to support local restaurants and hotels by ordering takeout or delivery or by purchasing gift certificates.
“Now is the time for our state to support local restaurants and hotels. If we can’t eat out, now is the time to eat in,” said Brandt. “Our industry is resilient and will get through these trying times, but we will need the help of our customers and state and local officials to do so. When purchasing gift certificates for hotels and restaurants, make sure the cash from your purchase is being received immediately by the business so they can save as many jobs as possible.”
For many restaurants, the only viable option following the Governor’s executive order was to temporarily close and lay off staff. ORLA is making every effort at this time to ensure workers and restaurant owners have the relief they need to protect jobs and ensure they are able to re-open their doors once the COVID-19 restrictions have passed.
“Our entire team at ORLA is working around the clock with state and local officials to facilitate job protection and business continuity. We have open lines of communication with the Governor’s office, the City of Portland and other public officials to work toward solutions that will mitigate the economic impacts the industry is facing at this time,” said Brandt.
In the past two days, Brandt has participated as an active member of the Governor’s Coronavirus Economic Advisory Council and presented comprehensive testimony alongside Director of Government Affairs Greg Astley to the Joint Special Committee on Coronavirus Response.
Media can obtain a copy of the comprehensive report here: COVID-19 Economic Impact on Oregon Hospitality Industry
Over the last month, hotels have seen steep declines in occupancy as events are cancelled and guests are cancelling travel plans. Travel in the Portland area is reported to be down 50% already in March and one hotel in Bend reported a loss of $600,000 in one week this month.
“If lock downs and shelter in place are put in effect, it is important the Governor, City Officials and the Legislature look at hotels as ‘Essential Services’ for planning purposes,” said Brandt. “People who are traveling or stranded will need accommodations.”
Nationally, COVID-19 is expected to result in a loss of 2.8-3.4 million jobs in the hotel industry and a decline to 25% occupancy nationwide. By comparison, the recession of 2001 and 9/11 saw 400,000 jobs lost and a decline to 59% occupancy, while the recession of ’07-’09 saw 470,000 jobs lost and 54% occupancy.
“Everyone in the hospitality industry is struggling right now. Many hotels and restaurants are having to lay off employees due to a loss of business. It is vital that federal, state and local authorities make every effort to protect those who depend on the industry for their livelihood. The need for a collective sense of urgency in driving relief solutions for small businesses and employees cannot be overstated,” said Brandt.
ORLA will continue to provide comprehensive updates and resources for the restaurant and lodging industries on their website through the duration of the pandemic: https://www.oregonrla.org/covid19_info.html.
WASHINGTON, DC – March 4, 2020 – Elephants Delicatessen received the Restaurant Neighbor Award for committing to community service and sustainability in the restaurant industry.
The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) honored Elephants Delicatessen during a special VIP dinner in Washington, D.C., where Elephants Delicatessen shared their story of giving back to the community and being a good neighbor to the planet.
“We’re proud of the incredible stories we can tell each year through our Restaurant Industry Awards – stories of those reflect the inclusiveness and generosity of the hospitality industry,” said Rob Gifford, president of the NRAEF. “The Foundation is thrilled and honored to recognize the people and the businesses that demonstrate why the restaurant industry is full of limitless opportunity.”
The NRAEF’s Restaurant Neighbor Award (RNA), developed in partnership with American Express, highlights outstanding local and national charitable service and philanthropy. RNA winners receive a $10,000 contribution in their name to support the charitable organization or program of their choice.
Elephants Delicatessen is an eight-unit restaurant chain dedicated to sustainability, managing food waste and supporting local nonprofits with daily donations and volunteering. The company donates approximately 95 percent of their leftover fresh food items. Elephants Deli became a Certified B Corporation in 2015, a designation for businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability. (watch video)
Each winner was selected from a pool of hundreds of nominations. Their incredible stories of overcoming personal challenges, achieving their dreams and giving back to the community were shared with industry icons and the broader restaurant and foodservice industry.
For the full list of winners, visit ChooseRestaurants.org.
About the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation
As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s mission of service to the public is dedicated to enhancing the industry’s training and education, career development and community engagement efforts.
Nine Schools Competed in Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association Education Foundation’s Statewide Competition Showcasing the Hospitality Industry’s Future Chefs
[March 2, 2020 - Salem, Oregon] – The challenge for the student chef teams was to prepare a three-course gourmet meal with only two butane burners in under an hour. Willamette High School pulled this off with excellence, winning top honors in the culinary competition at the ORLAEF ProStart Invitational, sponsored by Sysco. McMinnville High School took first in the management competition and also swept the category awards. The event was hosted by the Education Foundation of the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLAEF) on March 2, 2020 in Salem, Oregon.
“It is with great pleasure Sysco Portland is once again proud to be the leading sponsor of the ProStart program. These young culinarians from our state are building skills that are foundational to their careers in the hospitality industry,” said Bobbie McDonald, Sysco Portland, title sponsor.
ProStart, one of the nation’s largest industry-supported career and technical education (CTE) programs, teaches high school students culinary and management skills needed by restaurant, hospitality and foodservice employers. Focused on culinary techniques and restaurant management skills, this competency-based curriculum also includes real-life restaurant experiences. The ORLAEF ProStart Invitational is the capstone of this two-year program, providing a public opportunity for students to showcase what they have learned.
Final results for the culinary competition:
Final results for the management competition:
Culinary Category Awards:
Management Category Awards:
ORLAEF ProStart Invitational Awards:
“The atmosphere at this event was electric,” said Wendy Popkin, executive director of ORLAEF. “The ProStart program does a remarkable job preparing high school students with fundamental skills such as communication, teamwork, time management and professionalism needed to enter the workforce.”
Willamette High School’s winning menu included Cheese and Herb Agnolotti, Seared Halibut Blackberry Beurre Rouge, and Creme Caramel en Cage.
The teams from Willamette High School and McMinnville High School will head to the 2020 National ProStart Invitational® May 8-10, 2020, in Washington, D.C. These Oregon champions also receive a share of over $570,000 scholarships and prizes from local and national culinary schools to help further their careers in the restaurant and foodservice industry.
Currently 33 Oregon schools, with more than 3,869 students, participate in the ProStart training program. Internationally, ProStart includes 150,000 students in 1,900 schools and technical centers across the United States, and in Guam and the Department of Defense Education Activity schools in Europe and the Pacific.
Visit OregonRLA.org/championships more information and photos from the ORLAEF ProStart Invitational.
The bottom line. Everything affects it, including employee turnover because of increased labor costs like training and supervision. Creating a culture that keeps employees engaged will improve retention, which in turn can help stabilize labor costs. Keeping a stable team has also been shown to increase guest satisfaction via consistent service and product delivery, which can improve loyalty and return. Sounds good in theory, so what best practices have been implanted that show this positive ROI? If you haven’t already, check out our series of video interviews of hospitality members who have improved retention through a variety of approaches. You can find these at OregonRLA.org/WorkforcePractices.
For this issue, we are pleased to share an owner’s perspective of their successes in retention efforts implemented throughout their portfolio of properties.
EMPLOYEE RETENTION IN THE HOTEL INDUSTRY
Attracting and retaining employees has the same importance as attracting and retaining guests. In the hotel industry, the turnover rate for employees is very high. If we consider the energy needed, as well as the cost to replace an employee, it becomes clear that it is better to retain employees than to hire and train a new employee.
The process starts with proper labor plans and then targeting the right people. During the interview process we make sure to look for people who will fit in with our culture. As most of our properties are on the Oregon Coast, there is always a labor crisis, especially during the summer. Unlike Portland or other cities where there is a good supply of part-time employees and students, the Oregon Coast depends on the local market.
We have been involved in the hospitality industry on the Oregon Coast for nearly 10 years. We started with one hotel in Seaside and now we co-own 13 hotels – two of which were in the list of 100 Best Destinations in Oregon in recent years. We have employees who started front desk or housekeeping positions and have grown with us and are now serving in positions like director of operations, marketing or maintenance head. One of our marketing managers was even recognized as the Employee of the Year by the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association in 2018. It gives us great pleasure to see our employees develop. We empower them to make decisions based on their judgement to help guests. We work to minimize workplace issues and create a culture of respect, as well as provide coaching that drives behavior changes. It doesn’t matter what part of the operation they are involved in – all of them have one goal and that is to make guests happy.
We have made it clear that our employees should be treated the same way we treat our guests. We try to understand who they are and what they want. We arrange trainings for our employees, take them to conferences around the country, arrange yearly trainings during slow seasons and on the job training as needed. We also provide cross-training; if anyone wants to try a new position, we give them the opportunity. We arrange lunch meetings with employees. It gives us opportunity to listen to them in informal settings.
We try to create a sense of purpose by enforcing the idea that they are helping people who need a nice place to stay while they are traveling. It matters that they smile at guests – they are affecting the life of guests. When you look at the big picture, what their role is in the final product and who touches their product, you see how that type of communication creates motivation and that’s the key to engage our employees. We set clear expectations for our employees so they know what we expect and what we appreciate. Millennial and Gen Z workforces are different than Gen X or Boomers. To keep them attracted, we plan accordingly and make sure they are motivated and stay with us longer.
Labor cost is the biggest expense in the hotel industry, and we need an efficient operation to satisfy guests. It’s a balance of cost and labor management to maintain efficiency. We listen to our employees and do our best to be there ourselves to understand the situation and what we can do to help them. We never lay off employees during slow seasons, which is a very common practice in the hotel industry. Instead, we cross train them and engage them in different renovation and improvement projects. Also, we have created culture for a flexible workplace. To ensure employees who are expecting can have peace of mind and make plans for childbirth, we let them know that they have guaranteed jobs when they return. We create flexible schedules or modified schedules to accommodate employees with babies or small children. Understanding the need of employees and treating them properly makes them trusted employees and a valuable asset for the companies.
Wage benchmarking is important. We provide compensation which aligns to the market. In our history of companies, we are never late in paying our employees. That helps create trust with the employees. We also have several recognition programs such as the profit share program. If the company does well in a particular month and goes beyond target, we celebrate with our employees and provide some percentage of the profit. It creates motivation to do even better. In our companies, we offer free lunch, an employee-of-the-month recognition and review recognition programs.
We take guest reviews very seriously. If we find good reviews, we recognize our employees. If it’s a negative one, then we work with them to understand and evaluate the situation as well as take actions accordingly. We accept every review as an opportunity to improve the properties.
We include all of our employees in the management and decision- making process. We engage them to come up with solutions, and instead of implementing new processes, we ask in-house employees to come up with a plan. That creates a sense of ownership and responsibility and makes them feel connected with the company. Our goal is to give them the tools they need to make their job easier and rewarding. | MASUDUR KHAN AND TASLEMA SULTANA, SEASIDE LODGING / INTRO BY WENDY POPKIN
Masudur Khan (Managing Director of Seaside Lodging) and his wife Taslema Sultana (Managing Director of Haystack Lodgings) are the co-owners of 12 independent boutique hotels and one Choice hotel on Oregon Coast. Masudur (Chairman of Lifestyle Hotel BD Ltd.) also operates two independent boutique hotels in Bangladesh.
Wendy Popkin is the Executive Director for ORLA’s Education Foundation (ORLAEF), a nonprofit foundation dedicated to supporting the educational and training needs of the hospitality industry. Wendy is a 30+-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.” OregonRLA.org/EdFoundation