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.