Guest Blog | Let us Nudge
Our beloved Oregon restaurant industry is slowly making a comeback and that is good news for everyone! Other states are also letting restaurants get back to full capacity, as they are trying to recover lost revenue during the pandemic. But new issues are slowly arising as several documented articles online discuss how customers want to stay longer, so the need for these restaurants to turn their tables is required more than ever. We are also hearing everyday how restaurants across the country have started using time limits for their customers. Some customers may not like this, but the opportunity to help this industry is something we should all be thinking about, for now and the future.
We all enjoy dining out at restaurants and don’t ever want to feel rushed by any means. Time limits can work, but maybe there is something else for the long run. What if there was a way our favorite restaurant could offer customers a secure, seamless, and subtle “nudge” to help us help them turn their table faster, especially if they were finished with their meal? What if there was a way where we could help the Oregon restaurant industry seat more customers, especially during busy times? What if the restaurant had an option to actually incentivize the seated customer finished with their meal to help turn their table?
Again, it is positive to see restaurants slowly coming back to full capacity, but the need to serve more customers can really help Oregon restaurant owners with their bottom line moving forward. Reservation systems are great, and they help restaurants fill seats. But sometimes the systems lag when seated customers haven’t left their table. This tends to build up the bottleneck in the entrance area, which happens often in popular restaurants. Large chain restaurants get extremely busy as well, where anxious customers are waiting with pagers and devices to get seated. Most of the time, they are waiting for the seated customer finished with their meal, to turn their table to get seated. Again, no one ever wants to feel rushed, but a restaurant incentive could help improve table turnover efficiency.
Research and data have shown that customers are usually satisfied by incentives such as a discount, coupon, or free food or drink item, if needed. Of course, the restaurant can offer this incentive, though it is a fine balance to not rush them or get them upset and lose them for future visits, negative social media reviews, etc. Ultimately, it is up to the seated customer to accept the incentive willingly and help turn that table for the waiting customers.
Restaurants have fixed costs, the same amount of rent, minimum staffing needs for the kitchen and floor, etc., that they rely on for their daily operations. Then there are variables that restaurants see such as an increase in sales, more volume of customers, and amount of average check that all account for profitability. These fixed costs stay the same no matter how many customers dine in or not. An incentivized approach can help spread the overhead costs over a larger number of paying customers, which can help the restaurant bring in more revenue.
The opportunity to be busy, turn more tables, make profits, etc. are everything restaurant owners want, especially with the most important item being the wonderful food and drink they provide on their menu. That food and drink experience is the reason we as customers enjoy dining out with our family and friends. But that disheartening feeling steps in when we arrive at our favorite restaurant and the wait line is literally out the door. Again, most of the customers inside have finished their meal, and are enjoying social conversations. But maybe that restaurant incentive could help them turn their table a bit quicker, so others that are waiting can enjoy it as well.
The restaurant has choices regarding whatever incentive they want to give, be it a discount off the bill, or a coupon for another visit, etc. The seated customers can accept or deny this incentive, as they choose. Turning more tables for the Oregon restaurant industry can help recover revenue lost during the pandemic. This recovery can help now and for the future, as the opportunity to turn tables at Oregon family-owned, casual-chain, and fine dining restaurants, will improve the dining experience for all. Visit letusnudge.com to explore opportunities. | Rehan Khanzada, Let us Nudge
This guest blog was submitted by Let us Nudge. For more information on guest blog opportunities, contact Marla McColly, Business Development Director, Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association.
Guest Blog | Dell Technologies
Data, data everywhere and not a drop to drink. Study reveals businesses are struggling to reconcile conflicting data realities caused by overwhelmed technology, people, and processes.
In 2016, Dell Technologies commissioned our first Digital Transformation Index (DT Index) study to assess the digital maturity of businesses around the globe. We have since commissioned the study biennially to track businesses’ digital maturity.
Our third installment of the DT Index, launched in 2020 (the year of the pandemic), revealed that “data overload/unable to extract insights from data” was the third highest ranking barrier to transformation, up from 11th place in 2016. That is a huge jump from the bottom to close to the top of the ranking of barriers to digital transformation.
These findings point to a curious paradox–data has the potential to become businesses’ number one barrier to transformation while also being their greatest asset. To learn more about why this paradox exists and where businesses need the most help, we commissioned a study with Forrester Consulting to dig deeper.
The resulting study, based on a survey with 4,036 senior decision-makers with responsibility for their companies’ data strategy, titled: Unveiling Data Challenges Afflicting Businesses Around the World, is available to read now.
Candidly, the study confirms our concerns: in this data decade, data has become both a burden and an advantage for many businesses–which one depends on how data-ready the business might be.
While Forrester identifies several data paradoxes hindering businesses today, three major contradictions stood out for me.
1. The Perception Paradox
Two-thirds of respondents would say their business is data-driven and state “data is the lifeblood of their organization.” But only 21% say they treat data as capital and prioritize its use across the business today.
Clearly, there’s a disconnect here. To provide some clarity, Forrester created an objective measure of businesses’ data readiness.
2. The “Want More Than They Can Handle” Paradox
The research also shows that businesses need more data, but they have too much data to handle right now: 70 percent say they are gathering data faster than they can analyze and use, yet 67 percent say they constantly need more data than their current capabilities provide.
While this is a paradox, it’s not all that surprising when you consider the research holistically, such as the proportion of companies that are yet to secure data advocacy at a Boardroom level and fall back to an IT strategy that can’t scale (i.e., bolting on more data lakes).
The implications of this paradox are profound and far-reaching. Six in 10 businesses are battling with data silos; 64 percent of respondents complain they have such a glut of data they can’t meet security and compliance requirements, and 61 percent say their teams are already overwhelmed by the data they have.
3. The “Seeing Without Doing” Paradox
While economies have suffered during the pandemic, the on-demand sector has expanded rapidly, igniting a new wave of data-first, data-anywhere businesses that pay for what they use and only use what they need–determined by the data that they generate and analyze.
Although these businesses are emerging, and doing very well, they’re still relatively small in number. Only 20 percent of businesses have moved the majority of their applications and infrastructure to an as-a-service model–even though more than 6 in 10 believe an as-a-service model would enable firms to be more agile, scale, and provision applications without complexity.
Achieving breakthrough together
The research is sobering, but there is hope on the horizon. Businesses are looking to revise their data strategies with a multi-cloud environment, by moving to a data-as-a-service model and automating data processes with machine learning.
Granted, they have a lot to do to prime the pumps for a proliferation of data. Still, there is a path forward, by firstly modernizing their IT infrastructure so they can meet data where it lives, at the edge. This incorporates bringing businesses’ infrastructure and applications closer to where data needs to be captured, analyzed, and acted on–while avoiding data sprawl, by maintaining a consistent multi-cloud operating model.
Secondly, by optimizing data pipelines, so data can flow freely and securely while being augmented by AI/ML; and thirdly, by developing software to deliver the personalized, integrated experiences customers crave.
The staggering volume, variety and velocity of data may seem overpowering but with the right technology, processes and culture, businesses can tame the data beast, innovate with it, and create new value. | Sam Grocott
For more information, visit The Data Paradox page and to learn more about the solutions and services that can help your organization break through the data paradox.
For even more information and to get in contact with Dell Technologies, feel free to reach out to Steven Shipe, ORLA’s dedicated point of contact and account manager via email at Steven.Shipe@dell.com or visit www.dell.com/ORLA for program discounts.
Sam Grocott is the Senior Vice President of Business Unit Marketing for 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 | BYOD, Inc.
Most of the conversations I am having with restaurant colleagues these days involve any number of terms: RRF, PPP, Covid-19, recovery, consumer confidence, and many more. However, at my own restaurants the conversations center around one thing: staffing. In 25 years, I’ve never seen an employment pool as shallow as it is right now. While the economy is seeing wonderful recovery (the unemployment rate fell by another .3% last month adding almost 550K jobs, and the economy grew by 6.4% in Q1 and continues to skyrocket), we in the hospitality industry are not experiencing the same boom. Reuters reports that 5.6% of restaurant workers quit their jobs in April (an all-time high according to Gordon Haskett Research Advisors) and the bureau of labor statistics shows the hospitality industry came out of April still down more than 2.8 million workers from where it was pre-pandemic, with an unemployment rate of 10.8% compared to the national level of 5.5%. On top of that, I haven’t spoken to an operator in months where the phrase “severely understaffed” doesn’t come up.
Though there are multiple drivers (unemployment benefits, governmental pandemic regulations, large wage increases in industries that weren’t shutdown, etc.) behind this situation, and we can all debate them until we are blue in the face. The reality of the situation is that a smaller and shallower hospitality employment pool is here to stay. With that sobering fact readily apparent after the last several months, we also are hearing a lot from “experts” stating the only way to attract workers back is to raise wages. With efforts from groups like the IRC as well as state and national government to push a $15/hour minimum wage it seems a bit like the industry is being pushed into accepting this new reality by bully pulpit and the peanut gallery. The problem seems insurmountable, especially considering the fact that industry wide we lost 110,000 restaurants permanently last year and almost $240 billion. However, the building blocks of an alternative solution to “raising wages and just keep raising them” are already in many other industries.
In the 1950’s the manufacturing and agricultural industries employed 1 in 3 Americans workers, but in 2009, it was closer to 1 in 8. What happened, you ask? Automation. We began to use machines, computers, and finally data to evolve how those industries work. Now I know I just lost some of you. For years people have told me how backward the restaurant industry is, and how technological behind we are. We’ve been slow to adopt new technologies and sometimes burned by the ones that we have. I hear the argument that while spending millions of dollars on technology might work for a big factory doing $1 million dollars a day in revenue, it can’t work for a restaurant doing $1 million in revenue annually. But that supposes that automation requires large physical infrastructure, expensive software programs, large implementation teams, and a number of other hurdles that make it very difficult for an industry that is made up of more than 60% independent operators to consider implementation.
Automation is something that the restaurant industry has championed for years (just ask McDonald’s), but it has approached it from the standpoint of unit replicability, when what we need to focus on as an industry is how automation applies to a single unit. Simply put, are there tasks that technology can do (perhaps better than humans) that can be easily and inexpensively implemented? The answer is a resounding yes – with machine learning and artificial intelligence. Why couldn’t an AI build a schedule better than an assistant manager? Crunch data and predict sales and staffing at better rate? Coordinate your ordering for you? Essentially remove all of the mundane “office” jobs that an operator deals with on a daily basis so that they can focus on more important tasks? If a manager could skip 50% of their paperwork to spend more time training the limited staff that they already have (because an AI did it for them), could that staff begin to handle a higher workload? If consumer interfaces could start with technology as a welcome funnel (QR codes, AI engaged CRM’s that auto-seat customers) could that allow restaurant to do more with less staff?
In the end, what I believe will come out of the pandemic is not necessarily higher wages, but a greater reliance on technology as an interface between management and staff as well as restaurants and their customers. Technology isn’t the only solution to the current job market, but it certainly seems like a more palatable one. | Samuel Short
Sam is the Chief Strategy Officer for BYOD, Inc., a Restaurant-focused Artificial Intelligence company. Sam also owns a restaurant group in Michigan and has spent the last 25 years in the restaurant industry. He served on the board of the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association for many years.
This guest blog was submitted by BYOD, Inc. For more information on guest blog opportunities, contact Marla McColly, Business Development Director, Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association.
Guest Blog | Portland General Electric
This past year has rocked all of us, but it’s been particularly rough for small business customers. From a world-wide pandemic, a summer of social unrest, wildfires that hit too close to home, and a historical ice storm, small businesses, and especially restaurants, have endured more than their fair share of challenges.
I watched as businesses were forced to change and adapt at a moment’s notice. Many were forced to lay off their staff and face an uncertain future. But even while overcoming these challenges, I was inspired by the creativity and resiliency so many demonstrated – businesses continued to serve their communities and show compassion for their neighbors with an Oregon kind of energy that’s resilient, innovative, and rooted in care for the communities they are in. It’s the kind of energy we celebrate at PGE.
Hospitality, that friendly welcoming nature that we’re so proud of, is the heart of Oregon. We love where we’re from and we all are excited to share our favorite local eats and hot spots. I’ve been touched by the stories of restaurants caring for those most in need and the way that communities have stepped up to support their favorite local joints.
I recently had the opportunity to sit down and visit with four local restaurants throughout the region. During our conversations, I was inspired by the stories these restaurants shared. Despite the numerous challenges, they have come to work every day and continue to be agents for positive change in their communities.
To show appreciation for these restaurants and yours, we’re hosting a restaurant week on PGE’s Instagram the week of July 5. We’ll be sharing the stories of these restaurants and asking our followers to share their favorite local restaurants. Want to get in on this social boost? Share your favorite local restaurant (yours included!) on your Instagram story and tag @PortlandGeneral with the hashtag #RestaurantWeek.
Thank you, ORLA, for being a great resource and unifying force for Oregon’s hospitality industry. As we continue to invest in the future of Oregon, we’re proud to make a $5,000 donation to the Oregon Hospitality Foundation. Keep up the great work!
For more information on resources available for your restaurant, please visit us at portlandgeneral.com/smallbiz. | Warren Parker III, PGE Senior Marketing Strategist SMB
This guest blog was submitted by Portland General Electric. For more information about ORLA and guest blog opportunities, contact Marla McColly, Business Development Director, Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association.
June 15-16 2021, Travel Oregon will virtually host the 36th annual Oregon Governor’s Conference on Tourism. The Oregon tourism economy has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic. In 2020, of the 178,200 payroll jobs lost in Oregon, 81,600 of those (or 47%) were in the leisure and hospitality sector. And while visitors to Oregon spent $6.5 billion across the state in 2020, this was a 49.5% decline in visitor spending from 2019.
The 2021 Oregon Governor’s Conference on Tourism is an opportunity for approximately 500 travel, tourism, and economic development professionals to gather (virtually)to find new inspiration, dive deep into educational topics, and look ahead as we begin to rebuild the tourism industry and Oregon’s economy after a tumultuous year.
Educational breakout session descriptions are now accessible on the conference website. Sessions include exciting speakers that will focus on destination stewardship, working with elected officials, amplifying your role with the local tourism ecosystem and more. Additional information will be added as it becomes available.
We invite you to register for the 2021 Oregon Governor’s Conference on Tourism here.
Opening Session Keynote
To kick off this year’s conference, Frank Cuypers, senior strategist at Destination Think, will unpack the future of travel and tourism after COVID-19, and the changes and opportunities that lie ahead. So many aspects of the tourism industry remain unknown: How will travel and tourism look after Covid? What changes will we see and what other challenges might the tourism industry face in the future? How do we lead destinations through and out the other side of the pandemic? This discussion will inspire destinations to think about ways they can evolve and build resilience.
Reflecting on the past: Building an equitable tourism economy for the future
The conference will close with a session that showcases tourism industry leaders as they reflect not only on the impact the pandemic has had on their businesses but also how they have continued to be committed to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in their work. Hear stories from our tourism leaders and partners who have both championed DEI for their work and their communities.
Exciting partnership with Burgerville and DoorDash at conference
Travel Oregon has partnered with Burgerville and DoorDash to support local restaurants and food suppliers during the Governor’s Conference. Burgerville’s suppliers include Oregon favorites like Alpenrose Dairy, Camas Country Mill, Carman Ranch, Champoeg Farm, Country Natural Beef, Face Rock Creamery, Jacobsen Salt, Liepold Farms, Our Table Cooperative, and Rogue Creamery.
By registering for the conference by May 26, you will receive a $15 gift card to enjoy lunch on June 16 or as you’re able. We will miss you joining us in person, but we encourage you to continue to support the resiliency of our local restaurants, incremental efforts can go a long way.
Stakeholder Workshop: A Transformational Strategy for Oregon Tourism
Following the 2021 Oregon Governor’s Conference on Tourism, Travel Oregon invites you to join us for interactive workshop with our strategic planning firm, Destination Think, on June 16 from 3:30-5 p.m.
As we launch into the development of Travel Oregon’s longer-range visioning and strategic planning effort, it is vital we hear from you: Oregon’s tourism industry. We would love to gain diverse perspectives that have the potential to drive change and help inform the foundation of our four-year transformational strategic plan. Your participation is crucial and valuable to help transform the future of tourism in Oregon. Register for the stakeholder workshop here.
Guest Blog | GNSA
What Employers Need to Know
Payroll processing has a lot of moving parts. Before paying an employee, you must consider several variables, including the minimum wage, hours worked, overtime, allowed deductions, tax, and more.
Understanding federal and state laws regarding payroll is essential to avoid disputes with employees and the government. Keep in mind that if you do not have the resources or bandwidth to understand the legislation or comply with it, an Oregon payroll service might be right for you.
Here are vital items employers in Oregon need to know about payroll.
Oregon Minimum Wage
While the current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, Oregon minimum wage figures are much higher, and can be dependent on a specific locale or city. The minimum hourly rate is $11.50 in urban areas, $12.00 in standard counties, and $13.25 in the Portland metro area.
Oregon minimum wage law requires you to pay the most beneficial rate to the employee, which is the state minimum wage. The minimum wage requirement applies to all paid workers, including minors and employees on official training. It increases every July 1st, but this trend will change after 2022.
Starting July 1, 2023, the state's minimum wage will increase depending on inflation as per the Consumer Price Index. This inflation-based minimum wage rate is becoming increasingly common in many other states now as well.
Workdays and Hours Worked Requirements in Oregon
A workday, according to Oregon minimum wage law, is a fixed period of 24 consecutive hours. On the other hand, a workweek is a specified period of seven successive days that occurs regularly.
Businesses have to pay employees for all hours worked. Oregon's minimum wage law defines hours worked as all hours an employed person commits to their employer. This includes the time an employee is on duty at the employer's premises or engaged away.
Further, Oregon recognizes work requested as well as suffered or accepted unrequested work as hours worked. If an employer doesn't want a worker to perform work, the employer must ensure the employee doesn't do it.
Payroll Tax in Oregon
Oregon requires employers in or operating within Oregon to withhold tax from wages paid to residents working in or outside the state. They must also do the same for nonresidents who deliver services in Oregon.
An employer with paid employees in Oregon needs to register for a business identification number (BIN). Corporations without workers should also have a BIN to report remuneration for corporate officers.
Oregon withholding taxes and federal taxes are due on the April 30. Unemployment and transit taxes are due on the last day of the month following a calendar quarter. If you pay federal taxes electronically, you should do the same for your combined payroll taxes.
Oregon Requirements for Deductions from Wages
Oregon has strict rules governing how an employer can withhold or deduct part of an employee's wages. As the employer, you can only make deductions if:
However, there are many instances where the state prohibits you from deducting or withholding any amount from an employee's wages. Examples include deductions to cover:
Oregon Pay Schedule Rules
Every employer in Oregon must establish and observe a regular payday when they must pay all employees the wages due to them. However, section 652.120 allows you to enter into a written agreement with your workers to pay them at a future date.
Typically, the payday should not extend beyond 35 days from the day you engaged an employee or since the last regular payday. Employers are free to establish and maintain more frequent pay intervals.
Wage Payment Methods in Oregon
You can pay your employees by cash, check, or direct deposit. A payment check should be redeemable at face value with no deductions by the employee's bank. If you want to pay via direct deposit, payroll card, ATM card, or any other electronic means, the employee must consent to it.
Electronic payment methods should allow the employees to withdraw their net pay once cost-free. A worker who wishes to revoke their consent to electronic deposits must issue you with a written notice. The revocation becomes effective 30 days after you receive it.
Oregon Employee Time Reporting Requirements
Oregon requires employers only to compensate workers for hours worked. Therefore, you don't have to pay an employee for showing up or reporting if they don't work. Additionally, you don't need to pay a worker the minimum number of hours if you dismiss them before completing their shift.
To read the full article (originally posted on gnsadmin.com April 5, 2021), including more info on travel time regulations, on-call time guidance, Oregon final paycheck requirements and statement of wages, visit GNSAdmin.com.
GNSA is a Payroll, Human Resource, and Benefits Administration firm specializing in serving the small to middle market. Started in 1997, GNSA has steadily grown from year-to year as more and more companies have identified GNSA as the premier outsourced service provider. At GNSA we believe that the strength of the United States economy resides in the small to mid-market, therefore GNSA has focused its efforts towards better serving this segment.