Calculating the Corporate Activity Tax (CAT)
The Corporate Activity Tax is complicated and calculating your potential tax can be confusing. Therefore, ORLA has created a CAT calculator example to help our members understand how to calculate the tax. This exercise is only meant to help you project what your tax liability could be next year based on your sales in 2018. As always, please be sure to consult your tax advisors.
Corporate Activities Tax Passed in the Legislature
The Corporate Activity Tax was one of the 2019 Legislative Session bills having the biggest impact on businesses. ORLA was opposed to this bill as it raised taxes on corporate activity for businesses with gross revenues of over one million dollars. ORLA, along with others in the business community, was able to amend the original bill to include a deduction for labor or cost of goods sold. The association will work during the rule making session to ensure hospitality businesses will be able to include the tax increase on receipts so customers can see the impact of the tax.
According to Oregon's Department of Revenue, the Corporate Activity Tax is imposed only after a taxpayer exceeds $1 million of taxable commercial activity. Once they pass that threshold, the tax is $250 plus 0.57% on gross receipts greater than $1 million after subtractions. Proceeds of the tax are directed by statute to boost funding for public schools. Some key points to know:
DOR Requests Industry Input in CAT Rule Making
The Department of Revenue (DOR) held a series of town hall meetings across the state in September-October to seek input from business taxpayers about the administrative rules for Oregon’s new Corporate Activity Tax (CAT). Hospitality industry members were encouraged to join ORLA at one of these meetings and share their concerns about the tax and ask questions.
If you have any questions, please email Greg Astley, Director of Government Affairs, at Astley@OregonRLA.org.
ORLAEF ProStart Invitational Resources
The 2020 ProStart Invitational is set for Monday, March 2, 2020, at the Salem Convention Center. Here you can download useful forms, templates and documents related to the event:
Are you interested in transitioning to a CTE culinary program? ProStart® curriculum, hands on training, and experiences benefit your students as they learn how to choose items and make creative menus based on nutrition and budget, utilize safe sanitation techniques, and discover and practice important job readiness and ‘soft skills.’ These skills include communication, teamwork and decision-making, all while learning about the multiple high opportunity / high wage careers the food service industry offers. For general information, download the ProStart Overview.
“Foundations of Restaurant Management and Culinary Arts” was developed by subject-matter experts and is published by the NRAEF. The two levels of the curriculum – Level One and Level Two – are not designed to be sequential; this makes it possible for small schools with limited resources to offer the ProStart program to students. Learn about new curriculum and teacher resources at Textbooks.restaurant.org.
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.
Guest Service Gold Scholarships for Students
NRAEF has funded a limited number of free scholarships, value at $30, for students to earn an internationally accredited CTE-recognized certification, Certified Guest Service Professional, using a curriculum with real Oregon employees and their stories of customer challenges. More than 800 Oregon industry professionals have been certified since the program’s launch. Contact Sue Smith at 800.462.0619 for scholarship codes.
National Restaurant Association Education Foundation (NRAEF) Scholarships
Students, military servicemen and women and others can now apply for scholarship awards to pursue their dreams of becoming future leaders of the restaurant and foodservice industry. Awards range from $2,500 to $10,000 and can be used towards tuition and fees, books, room and board and other school-related expenses. The scholarships have no age restrictions. Individuals can apply at any age, whether they're recent high-school graduates or adults looking to make a career change. Learn more and apply.
View more information on Culinary Scholarships.
Industry-Related Programs and Courses
These facilities offer skills-based education for those looking to gain proficiencies to help them enter the hospitality industry as well as programs geared to those already employed who want to add credentials to their experience. See list of schools on ORLAEF's page.
Try a new and simple tool to explore a broad selection of restaurant and foodservice positions and chart a course that matches your skills with your career goals. Explore the tool.
Learn more about how ORLAEF partners with the industry to provide workforce development solutions.
Thank you for your interest in becoming a judge for the ORLAEF ProStart Invitational, sponsored by Sysco, on Monday, March 2, 2020, at the Salem Convention Center. We appreciate your support.
The event work is demanding but inspiring. Many judges and volunteers return every year because it is so exciting to be part of the day’s energy, and to witness the results of our students four months of hard work.
Please complete the form below and type in N/A where answers do not apply. Thank you, we appreciate your support!
Wendy Popkin, Executive Director, ORLA Education Foundation | WPopkin@OregonRLA.org | 971-224-1505
Editorial from ORLA's President & CEO Jason Brandt
[as published in the Portland Business Journal, Oct. 4, 2019]
According to a new Gallup poll, Americans say the restaurant industry is the most respected in America. And those of us working for both restaurants and lodging establishments at Oregon’s statewide association are taking a moment to celebrate this milestone.
We hope you join us in celebrating all the reasons why restaurants are vital to the infrastructure of our local economies in Oregon while also learning more about the industry’s expansive business models. For our counterparts operating full-service models with waiters and waitresses in Oregon, the path to sustainability is proving harder to figure out. Nationally, an average of 95 cents of every dollar customers spend goes back into the food, the people, and the place. Operators across our state are working hard to figure out how to maintain that level of reinvestment into the future as the realities of increased regulation take their toll.
As the leader of the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA), you won’t hear me crying wolf. Will there be massive closures of restaurants? No, but will there be an increase in ownership transitions and restaurants on the market for purchase? Yes. Will there be a hoard of server job losses as restaurants look at different business models? Probably not but we are seeing more counter service restaurants that do eliminate the existence of server positions and we expect those trends to continue. Are we seeing growing anxiety amongst our mom and pop restaurant establishments across this state as they attempt to absorb labor increases, additional human resource requirements for mandatory savings accounts for employees, paid sick leave, paid family leave, and the new corporate activity tax? Without question.
If we all take a step back collectively there is so much to celebrate relating to the role of restaurants in our society. Where else can an employee start as a dishwasher and rise to an executive position within a company? We have those stories. Where else can those working hard to get their lives back on track after serving time find jobs that pay a living wage? What industry employs more minorities and women managers than any other industry? You guessed it – that would be restaurants.
As we celebrate the findings of Gallup’s recent poll we also see it as an opportunity to make sure Oregonians better understand the pressures and anxieties facing restaurant operators in Oregon today. And if we love restaurants and their roles as cornerstones of our communities we hope you will join us in protecting their viability across the rural and urban landscapes of our great state.
Too often, our industry deals with headlines focusing on starting wage positions within restaurants and misperceptions about compensation opportunities in the industry. The world of restaurants is a land of opportunity for advancement and industry certifications for restaurant front line staff, supervisors, and managers are available to assist entry level employees with opportunities to advance.
One in three Americans had their first job in a restaurant and in today’s digital age what better way for our youth to develop crucial interpersonal skills than by getting their start professionally in a restaurant setting. Those of us at ORLA would argue there has never been a more important time for the role of restaurants in the lives of our young people.
As our industry continues the process of adjusting to new requirements for operating a business in Oregon we ask you to join us in celebrating the good that comes from embracing restaurant businesses across our state and we thank you for taking some time to better understand their triumphs and challenges. Remember, on average, 95 cents of every dollar spent goes back into the restaurant experience. We look forward to seeing you again soon for your next celebration. | Jason Brandt, President & CEO, Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association
Top Restaurant and Hotel Industry Members Recognized by Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association
Four members of Oregon’s food and lodging industry were recognized as 2019 Oregon Hospitality Industry Award recipients by the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA) during the annual Conference in September. Chuck Hinman, Best Western Plus Hood River Inn was named Lodging Operator of the Year; Kurt Huffman, ChefStable (Portland) was named Restaurateur of the Year; Dorothy Petersen, Papa Murphy’s (Junction City) was named Employee of the Year; and Togather Restaurant Consulting was named Allied Partner of the Year.
The recipients of these awards were recognized among their peers and over 330 delegates of ORLA’s Hospitality Conference on September 17, 2019, at the Seaside Convention Center in Seaside, Oregon.
“Oregon’s hospitality industry is teeming with individuals who contribute significantly to the health of the trade,” says Jason Brandt, president and CEO of the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association. “These winners represent not only some of our industry’s most dedicated leaders and advocates, but also the exemplary service that sets the high standard for the entire industry to achieve.”
Lodging Operator of the Year: Chuck Hinman, general manager of the Best Western Plus Hood River Inn, has worked in the hospitality industry his entire career, primarily in hotel management in the Seattle, Portland and Hood River markets. He’s managed the Hood River Inn since early 1990, shortly after it was acquired by owner group D.M. Stevenson Ranch. Chuck has been a tireless advocate of the hospitality industry, engaging on issues impacting businesses and his local community. He served several years on ORLA’s Board of Directors and was Chair of the lodging association during the merger with the restaurant association in 2010.
Restaurateur of the Year: Kurt Huffman, owner of ChefStable, is well-known in the Portland restaurant scene as a passionate advocate for the industry. Under his vision and leadership, ChefStable, a hospitality management group and consultancy, has opened over forty restaurants in Portland, San Francisco, Las Vegas and beyond over the last ten years. ChefStable partners with talented and passionate chefs to design, build and operate restaurants, bars, catering and more–taking care of all of the operational details so its partners can focus on food and service. Kurt also provides leadership for the Portland Kitchen Cabinet, an ORLA-sponsored civic engagement program committed to growing and preserving opportunity in the restaurant industry.
Employee of the Year: Dorothy Petersen has been with Papa Murphy’s for close to 20 years and has become a fixture in the Junction City community. Dorothy knows almost every customer and goes out of her way to make every guest welcome and appreciated. She even inspired a young frequent customer to write a school paper on how he wanted to “be like Dorothy.” As store manager, she supervises a team of mostly young people, and often sees her role as a “mom” to them. Dorothy teaches the young employees more than just how to make a pizza, but also some key interpersonal and life skills.
Allied Partner of the Year: Togather Restaurant Consulting helps business owners with start up, turn around, staff training, menu creation, branding and marketing, and analysis and evaluations. Seth Gruschow, founder and owner of Togather, leads a dynamic team of professionals in working with influencers and innovators to create a networking web of local and reliable businesses. Togather serves as a tremendous resource to the industry by sharing their expertise at events and sponsoring programs like the ORLAEF ProStart Invitational.
For more information on the Hospitality Industry Awards, visit OregonRLA.org/Awards.
THE CUSTOMER ISN’T ALWAYS RIGHT, BUT THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS THE CUSTOMER
Make sure you understand the value of responding to your reviews!
Let’s discuss something a little controversial: online reviews and how to respond to them. TripAdvisor reviews. Facebook reviews. Google My Business reviews.
How about Yelp reviews? There, I said it. Is your heart racing all of a sudden? Blood pressure up? Face red? Good. Now settle down and take a breath. We’re going to get through this together. We’ll focus on Yelp, but what I’m going to say translates to all review sites.
Between 65 and 90 percent of consumers, depending on which study you read, are influenced by online reviews. For Yelp alone, as of March 2016, there are an average of 164 million unique visitors per month (62 million desktop computer visitors, 69 million mobile web users, and 33 million app users.) 72 percent of consumers say positive reviews make them trust a business more, and 90 percent say positive reviews directly influence their buying decisions. And guess what – people are more likely to share a negative experience than a positive one. Common sense? Of course. Okay, enough statistics. So, what does all that tell us?
It tells us that the opposite is also true. Negative reviews influence people. It also tells us that your customers probably use Yelp. You probably even use Yelp yourself to find a restaurant, or a new barber, or any number of businesses you need to look up. I’m sure you take a peek at your own reviews once in a while, and hopefully respond to them.
Can you afford to risk 65 to 90 percent of your potential customers reading your negative reviews and you pretending they don’t exist?
Restaurants and hotels
Sometimes your food can fall short of expectations, or maybe the server or kitchen got it wrong. Maybe your front desk wasn’t as helpful as it could have been. Sometimes an employee can be perceived as rude or dismissive.
I know, your employees would never be rude or dismissive. But two things:
Like the title says, the customer isn’t always right. Perception is reality. And they are always the customer. You want to keep their business, right? Get referrals? Sell more rooms or get more butts in your seats? You need to fix your negative reviews. Here is our “best practice” strategy:
How to handle negative reviews (the “recovery”)
We’ve seen two important outcomes from our partners who follow the above. First, often the customer will update their review and add additional stars. Awesome! Second, customers who have been recovered using these techniques often become extremely loyal fans of the business, sometimes even more so than if they had a good experience to start with. Super awesome! Going the extra mile and showing the attention makes a big difference.
A recent study showed that a one-star increase in a business’ Yelp score translates into substantial revenue increases. You may not like Yelp, but you can’t afford to ignore it. So, go win back a customer! | Jay Skowron, Hospitality Defender
Jay Skowron is the Founder and Principal of Hospitality Defender, specializing in social media marketing, online review management, websites, and process consulting. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Any views or opinions presented in this blog post are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association.
ORLA proudly announces the launch of the Oregon Tourism Leadership Academy (OTLA), developed in partnership with the Oregon Destination Association and Travel Oregon, and led by the industry’s top experts. The new annual experiential learning program is targeted to public and private sector tourism professionals who are seeking to polish their leadership and professional skills, continue to grow their career accomplishments, and make positive and lasting contributions to the state’s tourism economy and its success.
“We believe we are embarking on a leadership experience which will prove to be transformative for program participants,” said Jason Brandt, President & CEO for the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association. “The academy will bring lasting personal and professional benefits to those who participate.”
Curriculum, field visits, and hands-on experiences are strategically designed to support and align with the state’s tourism goals and objectives which include four Strategic Imperatives:
The OTLA experience is designed for professionals currently serving Oregon’s tourism and hospitality industries. Interested program participants should have supervisory, managerial, or executive responsibilities in either the private or public sector. Applications from industry professionals who will soon be responsible for similar levels of responsibility are also encouraged to apply for the academy program. The strategic imperatives outlined above will serve as the program’s core themes each year. Each theme will receive focus as a part of four multi-day experiential learning programs designed to provide academy participants with comprehensive educational experiences. Each year, 20 academy participants will immerse themselves in the academy’s professional development curriculum alongside industry experts and facilitators.
For more information on the Oregon Tourism Leadership Academy, visit www.Oregonrla.org/OTLA.
If you’re a cancer patient and your doctor says, “Your best hope for a cure is in another city,” your first thought may be, “Where am I going to stay and how am I going to pay for it?”
The American Cancer Society can help. The Society works together with hotels through its Hotel Partners Program to provide complimentary rooms to cancer patients who need to travel out of town to receive treatment. In 2018, more than 211 patients were served through the Hotel Partners Program with nearly 921 nights through participating hotels in Oregon. Though we have great support from numerous partners, last year approximately 247 requests went unmet in the Oregon area - which is why the Society is seeking hotel partners throughout Oregon to help fill the need for free lodging for cancer patients.
The American Cancer Society is proud to partner with and recognize the following Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association Members:
Hotels that partner with the American Cancer Society show a commitment to their communities and to patients struggling with cancer. They can be proud that their hotels are taking an active role in the fight against cancer. “I learned firsthand how difficult it can be on cancer patients that need to travel for treatments when my best friend in Bend, Oregon was diagnosed with cancer several years ago. Being in the hotel business I was able to offer complimentary accommodations when he visited OHSU. My thoughts quickly went to those that do not have a connection or friend in the hotel business, what do they do? When I learned that the American Cancer Society offered a program to assist those patients, the Duniway was eager to partner.” - Ryan Kunzer (GM, The Duniway)
“Defeating Cancer is a global challenge, fought locally. Along with many hotel partners here in Portland, we are honored to support the families of patients as they go through what must be one of the most stressful times of their lives.” - Alex Dawes (GM, Embassy Suites Downtown Portland). Dawes, Embassy Suites in Downtown Portland, General Manager, is also demonstrating his commitment to the fight against cancer by participating in the 2019 Real Men Wear Pink campaign. “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer and the Real Men Wear Pink campaigns are all about ensuring ongoing awareness and having some fun at the same time.”
The American Cancer Society is seeking additional hotel partners for the program. If you are interested in partnering to provide complimentary rooms for cancer patients or have an executive interested in participating in the Real Men Wear Pink campaign, please contact Courtney Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org or 503.795.3971.
For information about American Cancer Society programs and services, including lodging, please visit Cancer.org or call 1-800-227-2345.
A federal spending bill passed in 2018 abolished a 2011 regulation prohibiting tip pooling; managers can now require that servers share tips with kitchen staff in states where employers do not take a tip credit. This change allows tip sharing among both customarily and non-customarily tipped employees in Oregon, including dishwashers and cooks. Managers, supervisors, and owners cannot participate in the tip sharing. A proposed rule to implement the change has been released as of October 7, 2019; comments are due by December 9, 2019.
One thing this proposed rule seeks to address is that the words “supervisor” and “manager” were not defined in the 2018 spending bill. This is especially important to our industry since many have hybrid approaches to their service positions. Supervisors and managers in some of Oregon’s smallest restaurant operations commonly serve guests and have participated in front-of-the-house tip pools as a part of a team approach to foodservice.
Employers are to use the “duties test” to determine who qualifies as a supervisor or manager, and establish tip pool eligibility. Essentially, if an employee’s primary or regular duty is not management or supervising, they are still allowed to participate in a tip pool. For details on the standard of the “duties test,” read the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Field Assistance Bulletin.
Prior to this change, the decision to participate in a tip pool was left to employees. For more context on the issue, check out Tipping the Scales (Oregon Business, April 2018). The Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) FAQ may answer any additional questions regarding tips at Oregon.gov/BOLI.
Restaurant Employee Compensation Tools
With tip pooling being legal with back of the house employees, employers may have questions about what their options are. ORLA launched a Restaurant Compensation Solutions Workgroup to review tools being implemented in restaurant operations across the state, including mandatory service charges, tip pooling policies based on sales that assist in compensating kitchen staff, and dual tip lines notating tip options for both servers and kitchen staff.
Tip pooling policies should be carefully reviewed with counsel before implementation to ensure compliance with all applicable requirements. For more on this subject, click the links below.
For additional questions, contact Greg Astley, Director of Government Affairs, at 503.682.4422.
ORLA staff will be on the road this September-October hosting Regional Meetings where members can engage in discussions on issues impacting their business. These meetings, held twice a year in fall and spring, provide members an informal, round-table forum to gain insight and intelligence, exchange ideas and ask questions.
Topics include: New laws in effect for 2020, Paid Family Leave, Corporate Activities Tax, plastic bags/straws, new restaurant compensation solutions and tip pooling options, Oregon restaurant wage survey, Oregon Tourism Leadership Academy, as well as local and regional issues.
While these meetings are free to attend, an RSVP is very much appreciated.
Monday, Sept. 30 - Portland (Restaurants)
10:00-11:45 am, Coopers Hall Winery and Taproom (404 SE 6th Ave., Portland)
Combined meeting with the Portland Kitchen Cabinet
> RSVP Now
Thursday, Oct. 3 - Ashland / So. Oregon
2:30-4:00 pm, Ashland Springs Hotel, Crystal Room (212 E. Main St., Ashland)
Reception following from 4-5:30 pm
> RSVP Now
Wednesday, Oct. 9 - Albany / Willamette Valley
2:30-4:00 pm, Gamberetti's (211 1st Ave. West, Ste 102, Albany)
> RSVP Now
Thursday, Oct. 10 - Portland (Lodging Operators)
1:30-3:00 pm, Sheraton Portland Airport Hotel (8235 NE Airport Way, Portland)
Combined meeting with the PDX Lodging Alliance
> RSVP Now
Monday, Oct. 14 - Redmond / Central Oregon
2:30-4:00 pm, The New Hotel Redmond by SCP (521 SW 6th, Redmond)
Reception following from 4-5:30 pm
> RSVP Now
Thursday, Oct. 24 - Hood River / The Gorge
2:30-4:00 pm, Columbia Gorge Hotel (4000 Westcliff Drive, Hood River)
Reception following from 4-5:30 pm
> RSVP Now
Wednesday, Oct. 30 - Astoria / North Coast
9:30-11:00 am, Buoy Beer Company (No. 1 Eighth Street, Astoria)
> RSVP Now
For questions, contact Greg Astley, Director of Government Affairs, at Astley@OregonRLA.org or call 503.851.1330.
Compliance extension and clarifications to single-use plastics
Ordinance No. 189537 – passed 6/5/2019; effective 7/5/2019
The City of Portland extended the compliance date for their restrictions on single-use plastics, moving the date from July 1, 2019 to October 1, 2019. They intended to give businesses more time to adjust given the impact of SB 90, which preempts local code.
It also clarifies that plastic utensil self-service stations for restaurants with counter service will still be allowed. There is also an exemption for plastic serviceware that is attached with a beverage container by the manufacturer (e.g. juice boxes), or when an ingredient like salad dressing is packaged with single-use plastic. All meals provided as a social service to vulnerable populations are exempt.
For online orders, dining establishments must coordinate with third-party ordering services to allow for the customer to request plastic serviceware. Compostable and biodegradable plastic are included in the definition of single-use plastic and are banned, but non-plastic material serviceware is allowed.
Short-term rental registration requirements
Ordinance No. 189557 – passed 6/12/2019; effective 7/12/2019
After stalled negotiations with Airbnb and low compliance rates for short-term rental permitting, the City of Portland is following the lead of the City of Santa Monica, CA, which recently had its ordinance affirmed by the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. This ordinance states that home sharing platforms must either reach a pass-through registration data-sharing agreement with the City, or they can choose hosts from a registry of City-approved and permitted rental locations.
No transaction can be completed and no fees can be collected by the home sharing platform unless the short-term rental is on the City registry, or if the home sharing platform has come to an agreement with the City on pass-through registration data-sharing.
Home sharing platforms will be charged $1,000 per illegal booking transaction per day.
New, bipartisan legislation is being introduced in Congress to help hospitality businesses comply with the Affordable Care Act.
This legislation directs the Treasury Department to implement an alternative, prospective reporting system that couples secure data collection with the efficiency employers need. The voluntary prospective reporting system created under this legislation would make important data available during the Exchange enrollment process, rather than after a coverage year has ended, and streamlines the reporting requirements for employers and insurers. Additionally, it protects the privacy of individuals’ Social Security numbers, authorizes the electronic transmission of reporting information, and establishes oversight of reporting verification.
Both the National Restaurant Association and ORLA support legislation that streamlines employer process and provides individual consumers with much-needed safety nets, employers with relief from duplicative and confusing reporting requirements, and Exchanges with an additional tool to verify tax credit and subsidy eligibility.
Contact Greg Astley at Astley@oregonrla.org if you have received a “226J” letter from the IRS so he can share that information with our partners at the National Restaurant Association and help pass this important legislation.
Pacific Power has announced a new policy of proactively shutting down power if conditions warrant it, in an effort to prevent wildfires. "Public Safety Power Shutoffs may occur with little warning and last for several days. It is currently unknown when these outages may occur; our only indication from Pacific Power is that they will occur during instances of significant wildfire danger (hot, dry, and windy days)," as stated by Hood River County Health Department in a memo to all Licensed Facilities in Hood River County.
The areas affected include Josephine County in southern Oregon (Roseburg, Medford, Grants Pass) and Hood River.
In Hood River County, health officials announced that food establishments may not operate during prolonged power outages. Within 4 hours of losing power, all food establishments shall cease operating and serving food to the public. Even if a food establishment has a generator, without formal written approval from the County Health office (in advance), no food establishment may operate during a prolonged power outage. Actions may be taken to protect inventories; however, any food exposed to temperature abuse shall be discarded.
Pacific Power has stated:
1. They will alert account holders 3-7 days out when possible
2. They will alert account holders 48 hours in advance, then 24 hours, then 2 hours and then one hour in advance whenever possible
3. Conditions will have to be sustained and will include:
If you have questions, please contact Hood River County Health Department directly:
For more information, download the memo from Hood River County Health Department.
The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA) has hired Nicole Peterson as its new Government Affairs Coordinator. Peterson will be the new steward of the Portland Kitchen Cabinet and its steering committee, focusing on grassroots engagement with restaurateurs and supporting their community building efforts.
“We are excited to have Nicole join our team at ORLA to add crucial capacity for our ongoing work in the Portland restaurant marketplace. Business models and paths to sustainability are changing rapidly and there are many opportunities to bring the strengths of restaurants to more Portland community conversations,” said Jason Brandt, President & CEO.
Nicole previously worked as a Research Assistant for a state and local government affairs team in Illinois and worked on a variety of issues from happy hours to baseball stadium renovations. Since moving to Oregon, she has worked in local government, giving her a broader understanding of the issues from the governing body perspective. She received her bachelor’s degree in Social Policy from Northwestern University.
In her new role with the Portland Kitchen Cabinet, Nicole relishes the opportunity to help Portland restaurants and the broader community gather, collaborate, and flourish by providing more opportunities for community engagement and advocacy for the industry. This group of informed, active and motivated hospitality community members serve as industry ambassadors with policymakers, opinion leaders, community leaders and partner organizations. With more than 100 members, the Portland Kitchen Cabinet is a proud partner of the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association and the National Restaurant Association.
On June 30, the Oregon Legislature officially came to a close. The 2019 session was marked by hyper-partisanship, two walkouts by Senate Republicans and dozens of new laws affecting the hospitality industry. Several key bills will affect how restaurants and lodging properties conduct business in the near future. Watch for ORLA's full recap of the session coming soon to the Advocacy page.
Here are a few quick updates:
HB 2005 – Paid Family and Medical Leave
SB 90 – Plastic Straws on request
Plastic straws in restaurants are now only available “on request” unless a customer is using the drive through and then employees may ask the customer if they would like a straw. Effective as of June 13, 2019.
HB 2509 – Plastic Bag Ban
Single use disposable plastic bags are banned from restaurants and grocery stores. Retailers may charge for paper bags. Effective date is January 1, 2020. Read HB 2509 Enrolled.
HB 3137 – Collection of local lodging taxes by Oregon Department of Revenue
Provides that transient lodging tax becomes due when occupancy of transient lodging with respect to which tax is imposed ends. This bill will help eliminate the issue of properties collecting and remitting the lodging tax to the state and then if a customer cancels, having to go back and recover the lodging tax paid in order to refund the customer the tax. Effective date January 1, 2020.
SB 248 – Increase in certain fees charged by OLCC
Fees for OLCC licenses will double effective July 1, 2019. Negotiated separately from this bill is the option to renew an OLCC alcohol license every two years instead of annually.
Engage en·gage | \ in-ˈgāj , en-\transitive verb
1: to offer (something…) as backing to a cause or aim… to expose to risk for the attainment or support of some end (Merriam-Webster)
WORKFORCE. Whenever you hear this word now among our industry it seems attached to another word, “lack.” Lack of recruits. Lack of skills. Lack of commitment.
Is this situation hopeless? It may seem that way to those who have not yet engaged in the myriad of ways hospitality industry partners have become involved in addressing these ‘lack of’ challenges. A few examples of partnerships ORLAEF is involved with may be inspirational!
RECRUITING AND BUILDING A PIPELINE Oregon has more than 3,000 high school students involved with ProStart. Without industry involvement and encouragement to pursue foodservice careers, the result of these students’ experience in the two-year culinary and management program could be just the memory of a fun elective course and a personal skill-builder. In many states, however, this foodservice career exploration program has become an effective pipeline for future employees.
How to engage? For example, Sysco Portland realized that its foodservice clients cannot succeed without a healthy workforce, and so have made supporting ProStart and other culinary training programs a top priority via sponsorship, mentorship, and scholarships! Learn more about their ideas by listening to a recent Boiled Down podcast, #22-The Future Workforce, at OregonRLA.org/podcast.
Engagement can take many forms. Think about an adult that inspired you, a teacher, an employer, a coach—today’s youth need mentors just as much, if not more, than previous generations. I asked Irina Bakun, a former ProStart student herself, culinary school graduate, and chef why she volunteered to mentor students who were planning to compete in our state competition. Her response was enlightening as she noted the positive effects not only for the students, but for herself.
“Working with high school students is exciting. They keep you on your feet, they really test your knowledge and communication methods. A surprising by-product is that mentoring helped me polish my training skills. From personal experience as a ProStart student on a team that had a mentor, I know firsthand that the more students are engaged with professionals the better they can understand the demands of a professional schedule, what working in a kitchen is like and the skills they will be expected to have when they leave the classroom and enter the restaurant industry. Working together can forge a meaningful bond that can create rewarding lifelong relationships,” Irina explained. “Recently, a student that I mentored three years ago called and asked for a reference. It was great to hear he was still cooking and fact that I was still on his radar and he wanted my opinion and support!”
BUILDING SKILLS “Hire for attitude, train for skill” is a popular adage. Perhaps it feels more challenging when the pipeline feels dry, however. Going to the source, worksource agencies that is, may help. Kristin and Drew Roslund, owners of the Overleaf Lodge & Spa, took a leadership role by engaging with ORLAEF and the Oregon Coast Visitors Association to create a pilot training program targeting to unemployed residents in Lincoln County. The program uses internationally accredited skill-building curriculum to help participants better qualify and prepare for work in the hospitality industry. Scholarships, funded through Travel Oregon, also pay for participants to earn their certifications as Certified Guest Service Professionals, one of our industry’s most important skills.
In Portland, Travel Portland is also seeking to take an active role in helping stakeholders with workforce challenges and invited ORLAEF to exhibit at a recent Opportunity Youth Job Fair. One result, thanks to funding from Worksystems, Inc. in Portland, is that 200 youth took ORLA’s food handler course and are now applying for jobs! Worksystems is also now committing to using the Guest Service Gold Tourism training curriculum for the hundreds of youth who are seeking skills and jobs that it serves.
INCREASING EMPLOYEE COMMITMENT Decreasing turnover can have a big effect on the bottom line. ORLAEF was curious about best practices being used in Oregon that were having a positive effective on employee satisfaction which tracked to increased commitment and retention. We commissioned OSU Hospitality Management Department’s research team to do a study to identify and interview companies that we're seeing results from innovative programs. These practices, captured via video interviews, are encouraging. Employee engagement tactics range from offering soft-side benefits, to supporting associate wellness programs, to nurturing a family-friendly company culture, to sharing leadership roles. Become inspired by viewing these videos at OregonRLA.org/workforcepractices.
Albert Einstein is widely known with the quote,“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.” Tired of the hearing the same workforce “lack of” words? Engage with ORLA’s Education Foundation as we seek to support innovative solutions to our industry’s workforce challenges. | Wendy Popkin
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.” www.OregonRLA.org/EdFoundation
Discussions on Cannabis Tourism and Licensing Fee Increase
On a quarterly basis, ORLA has the opportunity to participate in meetings with the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) to address issues impacting our industry. As members often have questions relating to licensing and other liquor or marijuana issues, ORLA appreciates the open lines of communications with the agency and the Commissioners.
At a recent OLCC Commissioners meeting, ORLA presented on cannabis tourism and the challenges our industry faces with OLCC licensees not being able to host cannabis events on site without giving up their OLCC license. Executive Director Steve Marks clarified that OLCC licensees are not able to hold cannabis-related events as the agency has defined a licensee’s entire property as being part of the license.
ORLA asked for consideration and discussion around the issue as cannabis-related tourism is a growing segment of the industry. Commissioner Matt Maletis reinforced the opportunities available to cannabis-related tourism and expressed his appreciation for ORLA addressing the issue.
At the request of Governor Kate Brown for the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC), SB 248 was introduced which would increase all licensing fees including those for breweries, wineries, distilleries and retailers. The increase is needed to upgrade technology and software for the agency to help increase efficiency and productivity. ORLA has been in discussions with the OLCC about the increase and received assurances from the agency that as part of the increased fees, OLCC would make a change in administrative rules to allow for two-year licenses.
The two-year license is something ORLA has heard members are interested in to help them save time and money by only having to apply for renewals every two years instead of annually.
There would be exceptions to the two-year license offering which may include first-time applicants and applicants who have had a violation in the last 12 months. Details are still being worked on at this time and ORLA will share updates with members as they come.
If you have questions relating to OLCC licensing or other issues, feel free to reach out to me at Astley@OregonRLA.org. | Greg Astley
The hospitality industry and the state of Oregon lost a great champion when State Senator Jackie Winters passed away from lung cancer on May 29, 2019.
Beloved by all in the Capitol for her sense of fairness and justice, Sen. Winters began her political career in 1969 when, at the request of Governor Tom McCall, she was recruited to be supervisor of the Office of Economic Opportunity’s New Resources Program.
In 1979 she was appointed Ombudsman by Governor Victor Atiyeh. During her tenure in that office, she helped create the Oregon Food Share Program, the first statewide non-profit food sharing network, which continues today serving Oregon’s neediest families.
In 1985, Jackie opened her first Jackie’s Ribs restaurant in Salem. Over time, she and her family expanded to include three restaurants, two franchises, catering services and numerous appearances in national Bar-B-Q Cook-offs.
Winters was elected to the Oregon House of Representatives in 1998 and became the first African-American Republican ever to serve in the Oregon Legislative Assembly. She was re-elected to this office in 2000 and then to the Oregon State Senate in 2002 where she served until her passing.
On November 15, 2017, Winters was elected as Senate Minority Leader to replace Ted Ferrioli. She became the first black legislative caucus leader in the state.
Jackie was an integral part of the Oregon Restaurant Association’s advocacy work as she served on the Government Affairs Committee and was part of the ORA’s Regional Board.
[Update May 7, 2019]
Menu Labeling Compliance Guideline
Today marks the first anniversary of menu labeling compliance and begins official enforcement of the law. Restaurants with 20 or more locations operating under the same name, should currently be complying with menu labeling regulations. However, during the past year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) focused on education and worked with establishments to help them comply with the menu labeling regulations.
The National Restaurant Association developed resources to help members understand the regulations and comply; download the Menu Labeling Compliance Guide.
[Posted May 7, 2018]
Menu Labeling Regulations Effective
The final rules for menu labeling apply to restaurants and similar retail food establishments if they are part of a chain of 20 or more locations, doing business under the same name, offering for sale substantially the same menu items and offering for sale restaurant-type foods. Read the latest update on guidance for the rule: FDA Finalizes Guidance to Help Food Establishments Meet Menu Labeling Requirements.
The FDA has stated their intention to educate restaurants and foodservice establishments during this first year of implementation without issuing penalties.
In May 2017, based on comments received, FDA is extending the compliance date for menu labeling requirements from May 5, 2017 to May 7, 2018. This extension allowed for further consideration of what opportunities there may be to reduce costs and enhance the flexibility of these requirements beyond those reflected in the final rule. For more information see, the Federal Register Notice Announcing the May 7, 2018 Compliance Date.
See also National Restaurant Association's issue paper on Menu Labeling.
NOTE: This position statement was drafted by local restaurateurs and foodservice operations doing business in Hood River County and as a result reflects the official position of our statewide association on their behalf.
Hood River County needs a solution to their budget shortfall, but this is an ill-conceived way to do it. There is still a three-year runway to find a financial solution and this measure is fundamentally flawed. Measure 14-66 is bad for Hood River County for the following reasons:
Bad for Businesses
- Entire tax burden carried by just one business segment – this is not a fair tax.
- Restaurants are seasonal and already struggle in the winter.
- Already hit by massive cost increases from higher minimum wages and unequal share of business property taxes.
- Restaurant sales taxes are shown to shift demand to large corporate chains and grocery stores, hurting local restaurants and farms.
- Tax is complex and hard for small restaurants to implement and comply with.
Bad for Workers
- Will reduce overall income and overall employment opportunities.
- Will reduce tip income as customers will tip less to offset additional tax cost.
- Restaurant employees already struggle with affordable housing and this will compound that, especially in winter months.
Bad for Residents
- Residents will shoulder most of the tax burden as they eat in restaurants all year long. Tourism is only a factor for a few months of the year.
- Residents want to support and access local farmers and locally sourced food. This tax creates a headwind for that.
- Restaurant sales plummet during economic downturns, making this an unstable source of income for the county.
Let’s ask Hood River County to bring a fair and sustainable option for raising these funds.