Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council works on behalf of dairy farm families to build trust and demand for local dairy foods.
Oregon is An Agricultural Wonderland
Throughout the state of Oregon, a thriving food and drink industry means that locally made foods are in abundance. More than 220 high-quality crops are grown here, placing Oregon 6th in the U.S. for crop diversity. With our rich volcanic soil, clean mountain air, pure spring water and diverse climate zones, Oregon is not only an exceptional place to grow crops, but a place where people (and dairy cows) thrive.
Happy, Responsibly Raised Cows Make Great Milk!
The Oregon dairy community’s unwavering eye on sustainability and social responsibility has resulted in an impressive 11 US Dairy Sustainability awards for the region in the last 10 years. Dairy farmers are committed to being stewards of the land, and focus on upcycling byproducts, particularly to maintain good nutrition for their herds, reducing water usage, and adapting new game-changing technologies. As of 2023, Oregon has 156 dairy farm families caring for more than 126,000 cows. Dairy farms across the state vary in size, from just a few milking cows, to as many as 30,000. Oregon dairy farms of all sizes ensure the high quality of the milk they produce by raising healthy, happy cows. Oregon milk consistently ranks in the nation’s top five for quality, which we can enjoy in the premium and award-winning dairy products that are crafted here.
From Great Milk, Comes Exceptional Cheese
You can find every type of artisan cheese within the borders of our state…from brie to blue, and fromage blanc to aged cheddar. Our award-winning, premium cheeses stand out in both national and international competitions. Oregon artisan, farmstead, and specialty cheesemakers took home 18 medals, including blue ribbons in six categories, at the American Cheese Society’s (ACS) 2023 Annual Cheese Competition. Oregon is also home to the 2019 World’s Best Cheese winner – Rogue River Blue by Rogue Creamery, the first and only USA cheese to ever win the coveted top honor at the World Cheese Awards.
Dairy IS Oregon
Our local dairy farms and cheesemakers in Oregon are an essential part of our communities. These businesses provide jobs, support community programs, give back to local organizations and are champions of Oregon as a destination to live, work and play. By choosing Oregon, you’re not just supporting our farming families and passionate artisans, you’re getting some of the best cheeses being made today.
Eat More Cheese!
Oregon made cheeses elevate any cheeseboard, salad, burger, breakfast sandwich, and more with a bit of wild landscape and handcrafted love in every delicious bite. You can discover Oregon cheese at your local farmer’s market, independent and natural grocers, or by visiting one of the 15 cow’s milk creameries in the state. Learn even more about these unique cheese makers and the delicious and diverse range of products on offer by visiting Oregoncheeseguild.org/cheesemakers.
The sale of a privately held company or family business has a unique marketing challenge. On one level, similar to selling any product, it is in the seller’s best interest to have the maximum number of potential buyers know the business is for sale and to engage with as many parties as possible. The market dynamic principles of supply and demand convey that the higher the demand and the lower the supply, the better the price a product can be sold. In the case of a business sale, the supply is one and the opportunity to purchase is unique for a specific time & place and may not be available again for a long time.
Now the challenge. In the sale of a business, most owners desire to have no one know that their company is for sale prior to the transaction being completed. This desire (or should I say fear that keeps entrepreneurs up at night) is motivated by concern about how the information will be received by customers, employees, and vendors. The last thing an entrepreneur wants is to have staff turnover, customers revisit an existing relationship, or competitors take advantage of the situation. The good news is that business buyers seeking an acquisition are aligned with sellers in wanting the information a business is for sale to be held in strict confidence. This is motivated by a desire to retain customers, employees, and vendor relationships.
Reconciliation of these directly conflicting elements requires knowledge, experience, and skill. Knowledge is employed in the development of a comprehensive marketing program that attracts the maximum number of qualified parties while maintaining an environment of strict confidence. It is beneficial to engage a business brokerage firm with experience selling companies in the relevant industry and geographic area, as they may already know potential buyers. It is prudent to use a mergers & acquisitions intermediary with processes and legal documentation in place that will allow only financially qualified parties with sincere interest in an acquisition to learn a company is for sale. Most of all it is critical to hire a broker with the skill to navigate the process from justification of the maximum possible sale price to confidential, competitive market creation with the ability to successfully negotiate the best possible outcome and facilitate the deal to closing with the least amount of transactional turbulence. There is no substitute for knowledge, experience, and skill in a professional advisor. Seek the best and you will get the best outcome.
IBA has successfully sold more companies in the Pacific Northwest than any other company. We are licensed to sell real estate in Washington & Oregon. All communication with is held in strict confidence. 100% of IBA’s fees are performance based.
Additional information on IBA can be found at www.ibainc.com. Joseph Hollcraft, an ORLA Allied Partner and this blog’s author, can be reached at 503-739-4880; or Gregory Kovsky, IBA’s President & CEO, can be reached at (425) 454-3052, Joseph@ibainc.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, or www.ibainc.com/2023.
The hospitality industry is a dynamic and ever-evolving sector, facing a unique set of challenges and opportunities. In recent years, the industry has been impacted by various factors, including economic uncertainty, natural disasters, and cyber threats. These factors have contributed to an increase in insurance premiums and a tightening of underwriting guidelines, making it more difficult for hospitality businesses to obtain and maintain adequate coverage.
Key Factors Affecting Hospitality Insurance
There are several key factors that are affecting hospitality insurance in 2023 and 2024, including:
In addition to the general challenges facing the hospitality industry, there are also some specific insurance issues that businesses in this sector need to be aware of:
By understanding and addressing these specific insurance issues, hospitality businesses can better protect themselves from potential risks and ensure their long-term success.
Key takeaways for hospitality businesses:
Recommendations for Building Resilience in 2023 & 2024
In order to build resilience in 2023 and 2024, hospitality businesses should take the following steps:
Establishing the estimated market value of a privately held company or family business is a sophisticated, nuanced process requiring significant knowledge & experience. Business value is built on four pillars: Market Demand, Profitability, Potential, & Infrastructure. Market Demand’s influence on value is calibrated by industry, geography, economic conditions, & financing availability. The role of profitability is straight forward. The more profitable a company the higher the value and the larger the dial for turning up Market Demand. Profitability that is sustainable or growing is the most attractive in the business opportunity marketplace. No one purchases a company desiring to exactly replicate what it did yesterday. All business buyers acquire companies seeking to see how it will perform under their ownership. The larger the opportunity for growth and enhanced efficiency the more potential a business has and the higher the value. Infrastructure value can be found in a spectrum of assets ranging from employees to physical & online locations to intellectual property and from customers to equipment to suppliers and inventory.
Only a mergers & acquisitions intermediary firm has the knowledge to incorporate present market demand into a valuation process. Business appraisers & CPA’s use the data generated by business brokers for their market comparables and lack the comprehensive knowledge of the dealmakers learned from working in the field facilitating transactions.
IBA offers complimentary opinions of business market value to potential customers interested in selling their companies. The service is free as a method of providing entrepreneurs an opportunity to assess our knowledge, experience, and customer service without contractual obligation. All information shared with IBA is held in strict confidence. IBA traditionally sells businesses within 10% of our suggested market value. IBA has the ability to justify our values to buyers, accountants, banks, investors, and lawyers. The true value of a business is what a willing buyer & seller will agree in an arm’s length transaction. The value of having a highly skilled, knowledgeable, & experienced intermediary convey the value proposition should not be underestimated. IBA has consistently achieved timely sales of privately held companies and family businesses in Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Idaho for strong market values since 1975 out of our physical offices in Bellevue, Spokane, & Portland.
Additional information on IBA can be found at www.ibainc.com. Joseph Hollcraft, an ORLA Allied Partner and this blog’s author, can be reached at 503-739-4880; or Gregory Kovsky, IBA’s President & CEO, can be reached at (425) 454-3052, Joseph@ibainc.com, email@example.com, or www.ibainc.com/2023.
Key performance indicators (KPIs) are foundational to most jobs. These useful measurements help companies understand progress over time. But beyond revenue growth and profit margin, there’s one KPI some managers overlook: joy.
How happy are your employees?
Perhaps more importantly, what’s your own level of joy in your job? At Dell Technologies and at Renegade Global—a consulting practice that helps people invest in their personal brand and growth—we see the people in our businesses, not just the professionals.
1. Make play nonnegotiable.
Play goes hand in hand with curiosity, which in turn fuels engagement. When you prioritize play, you combat opposing feelings of burnout and even depression.
2. Diversify your sources of happiness.
There are different kinds of happiness: “rock star,” which you might experience after a big win; “flow,” which happens when you’re caught up in something you enjoy; and “higher purpose,” which occurs when you focus on something bigger than yourself. You need all three.
3. Avoid the three Ps.
Of the common pitfalls people tend to fall into at work, three Ps top the list: perfectionism (seeking an unattainable standard), people-pleasing (never putting yourself first) and personalizing (making things “about you”). Be sure to give yourself—and others—the grace to make mistakes. Prioritize your own needs and remember that not everything is personal.
4. Overcome difficult conversations.
Effective communication is an art form. When you have a difficult conversation ahead, consider the following steps:
At Dell and within Renegade Global, we have seen great results with weekly check-ins, asking questions such as, Which activities did I love? Which ones did I loathe? What are my priorities? What help do others need from me?
With these tips in mind, you can transcend clichés about work-life balance and make joy a core KPI of your job.
Want to read more stories like this? Check out Realize magazine.
Over a coffee meeting to introduce myself to the CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bend last winter, a casual conversation led to brainstorming what would become a nine-week summer pilot project called Workforce Wednesday.
As the director of Workforce Development for Visit Central Oregon, one of my focus areas is working to cultivate the region’s talent pipeline. A challenge that goes hand-in-hand with this is the misperception that tourism jobs are low-pay, high-churn roles that aren’t viable career paths. So, you can imagine the excitement when presented with an opportunity to help young people understand this is not the case.
#WorkforceWednesday is a program geared toward middle school-aged youth that gives them opportunities to learn about career paths in the tourism industry. For Visit Central Oregon the goal of this project was to work with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bend to design field trips to tourism-related businesses that would be fun, educational, hands-on and memorable. We wanted the experiences to be unexpected — to highlight diverse careers that would spark interest.
I’m sure the first thing some might think is: Why middle-schoolers? Admittedly, this age group is largely not of a legal age to enter the workforce. But they are the prime age to inspire. As an emerging workforce, this cohort can develop an understanding of how their passions and interests can lead to jobs and career paths they’d never considered. This inspiration can stay with them as they continue through school, think about their first summer job, and make decisions about college and beyond.
The program included a trip to Drake Park with the Visit Bend team to learn about digital marketing and the economic value of tourism. The kids got to participate in a photo shoot — everything from style and layout, to finding the perfect shot and posting an Instagram reel.
Next up was a trip to Humm Kombucha to learn all about the art of brewing craft beverages (that they are old enough to drink!). Kids witnessed everything that goes into the kombucha-making process and got to help create their own signature batch.
The following week, the group met with Cog Wild, which gave participants an overview of tour operator/outfitter business operations, and the importance of developing and maintaining local trail systems, followed by a mountain bike ride.
From there, the kids met with REI, Saxon’s Fine Jewelers, The Stacks Art Studios & Gallery, and Regal Cinemas in the Old Mill District to learn about high-volume business operations in one of the most popular shopping areas in Bend.
Last but not least, the students made their way to Santiam Snolab, where they were immersed in the business operations of a local maker, and got to collaboratively design and build their own custom snowboard and set of downhill skis.
"Programs like this are a tangible way to start educating and inspiring future workforce that will be critical to sustaining a thriving tourism industry."
Bess Goggins, the CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Bend observed incredible engagement from the kids — as the summer went on, the kids’ genuine curiosity and interest increased exponentially. Kids that would have otherwise stayed home were opting into the program to participate. One parent noted that their child “did so many fun things that we would never have been able to do at home” and that they had “one of the best summers to date and came home every week with a positive experience to share.”
The program was such an incredible success that there are conversations to expand it into the school year across other industries and sectors. Talks are also underway to continue the #WorkforceWednesday program next summer with a hospitality and tourism lens once more.
I especially love the #WorkforceWednesday program because it is something that other destinations can replicate.
Workforce development can be daunting — but programs like this are a tangible way to start educating and inspiring future workforce that will be critical to sustaining a thriving tourism industry. | Jaime Eder
This guest blog was submitted by Jaime Eder, Director, Workforce Development and Community Engagement for Visit Central Oregon, and originally published in The Bend Bulletin.
App-based tools are helping divert food waste and provide meals to the hungry.
Do you ever wonder what happens to the leftover supermarket rotisserie chickens at the end of the day? Or all those everything bagels in the case at closing time? Or the extra macaroni and cheese, collard greens, cornbread and other sides at your local barbecue chain?
Unfortunately, much of this perfectly edible food probably goes to waste; more than one-third of the food produced in the U.S. is not consumed, according to the EPA’s 2021 report, Farm to Kitchen: The Environmental Impacts of U.S. Food Waste. The environmental impact of one year of food waste is staggering—it uses the same water and energy as 50 million homes and emits the equivalent level of greenhouse gases as those generated by 42 coal-fired plants. Meanwhile, nearly 34 million people—including 5 million children—are grappling with food insecurity in the U.S.
But there are multiple players deploying technology to help disrupt this waste chain. These tech-powered companies and nonprofit groups are using app-based tools that connect to virtual dashboards to match unwanted food and grocery items from restaurants, corporate cafeterias and supermarkets with community-based groups that feed the hungry. The dashboard allows a restaurant owner, chef or manager to upload what food is available, along with delivery or cooking instructions and shelf life, and a nonprofit partner to claim the item. Depending on the service, the app can dispatch a third-party service driver or volunteer within a specified time frame to ensure the food is viable after delivery.
“Much food waste occurs because of confusion over labeling,” says Suzannah Paul, director of Philly Food Rescue (PFR), which is part of the Share Food Program, a regional food bank and hunger relief organization. “Best-by, use-by, sell-by, and even marked expiration dates are not true safety indicators or real expiration dates, except in the case of infant formula.”
The USDA and EPA have set an ambitious goal of slashing food waste by 50% by 2030. Reducing or eliminating food waste “presents opportunities to increase food security, foster productivity and economic efficiency, promote resource and energy conservation, and address climate change,” according to the EPA. Can this technology remove a key barrier to alleviating this food waste crisis?
Serving a tech solution
Founded by entrepreneur Jasmine Crowe in 2017, Goodr takes a holistic view of waste—it partners with major food service companies like Compass, Aramark, and Sodexo, hotel chains like IHG, and other food industry clients in more than 30 cities around the country to manage and process their food waste—whether through donations and other “hunger relief solutions,” or services like waste management and organic composting.
For the Atlanta-based B Corp., dealing with food waste is a matter of “logistics,” according to Ryan Moore, senior partnerships manager. Their tier of services “allows for businesses to get rid of any food scraps—things they prepare food with, anything that’s leftover and not eaten on a plate,” Moore says.
A recent transport coordinated by Goodr consisted of 17 trays of cooked chicken, pork, potatoes and green beans. Using its dashboard-based system, Goodr was able to quickly get the food to a nonprofit behavioral healthcare agency called Homeward Bound in Dallas.
With the organization providing 70 to 100 people with three meals a day, the timing couldn’t have been better. “Having the meals already cooked was great because, like everyone else, we are having trouble finding staff,” says Christine Wicker, Homeward Bound’s director of development.
Data: the crucial ingredient
Describing its mission as “for profit, for good,” Goodr says it has been able to scale quickly because it’s a business. It claims a community and environmental impact of facilitating 30 million meals, diverting 3 million pounds of food from landfills and preventing 6.2 million carbon emissions. Businesses pay a monthly fee based on the number of scheduled pickups and can claim a tax deduction for food they donate. In 2022, Goodr nearly tripled its staff, going from 13 workers in July to about 35 by the end of the year.
“We would not be able to do this without being in the time of technology,” Moore says. “The popularity of Uber and other apps allows Goodr to do this. We leverage ride-share companies to do what we do—the majority of our pickups are drivers that are already in transit. There’s no middleman, so we can make sure the food doesn’t end up in the landfill.”
For Goodr, data analysis plays a key role not only in matching available food with the right recipient but also in helping donors better understand the demand for their products or menu items—and how to reduce waste.
Several years ago, for example, one of Goodr’s bagel clients was tossing 200 bagels a day. After just three months of tracking, they were able to cut the amount by more than half. Another customer operated a corporate cafeteria and, through the metrics on their Goodr dashboard, determined that three of their five most-wasted products featured pork. As a result, they retooled the menu to better reflect their audience preferences.
For overburdened chefs, the ability to donate unused food has provided an incentive for them to track their data more carefully. “Our goal is to show clients, ‘You’re wasting this much food, and this is what you’re wasting,'” Moore says. “It’s going to allow them to be better at not wasting food. If you add an incentive that you can donate it to local nonprofits and help your community, that’s a whole new incentive for companies that have tried tracking in the past where it hasn’t worked.”
Protections for good Samaritans
For some restaurants and food businesses, liability concerns may prevent them from donating food—if someone gets sick, they don’t want to be held responsible, or so the conventional wisdom goes.
However, several federal laws shield them from liability. The 1996 Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Act offers federal protection from liability of any food donated for free “in good faith.” A newly enacted law—the Food Donation Improvement Act—further exempts from liability donors who provide food at a so-called “good Samaritan reduced price” (basically at cost) and also allows them to donate directly to “food insecure individuals” rather than have to use a nonprofit partner. According to Paul, the Good Samaritan Act “never had any agency offering clarification, so some brands do feel safer throwing good food away. And unfortunately, it’s sometimes given as an excuse for inaction,” Paul says.
To err on the safe side, Philly Food Rescue recommends that all rescued food be distributed, eaten or frozen within 24 hours. “We do quality checks on items in our warehouse and set expectations with food donors about what kinds of donations are appropriate to send out to our partners,” Paul says. “Our partners know the food is still good to eat and won’t be good for long.”
But the best outcome is to avoid food waste as much as possible. While food stores and businesses have their own metrics to follow for generating—and managing—waste, the consumer plays a role, too. That should be food for thought the next time you tap your pizza delivery app for a two-for-one pizza delivery deal when you might only need one pie, RSVP to a business luncheon but don’t stay to eat, or pass over a gallon of milk at the supermarket with a short “sell by” date. | By Robert DiGiacomo
Learn from local chefs and managers how to set up a successful compost program
All businesses and commercial kitchens generating more than one 60-gallon roll cart of food scraps per week in the Metro region will be required to separate their food scraps and keep them out of the landfill by composting, donation or upstream prevention practices.
How to set up compost
Hear how The Old Spaghetti Factory set up food scrap collection. General Manager Gary Shepard shares how they:
He explained that he was hesitant at first but found they were able to compost without any inconvenience or additional labor, and that staff supported it almost instantly. Watch the 2.5 min video*
Compost tips from an experienced Chef
Providence Milwaukie Hospital’s Grapevine Café has been composting since 2012. Executive Chef Martin Pedersen shares how they:
Chef Pedersen also talks about the benefits and positive staff and customer response. Watch the 2 minute video*
Find opportunities to trim waste
Embassy Suites by Hilton Washington Square hotel found that separating food scraps helped them find ways to reduce food waste and save thousands of dollars a month. General Manager Scott Youngblood and Executive Chef Scott Hensley share how they:
Once you start collecting food waste, you can more easily tell what is frequently wasted each day. Knowing this might help you reduce how much of certain foods you order and prepare, which can lower your purchasing costs and cut prep time. Visit FoodWasteStopsWithMe.org to learn more about the food scraps separation policy and/or to request assistance from a food waste reduction specialist.
SHARE YOUR STORY!
Does your business have a successful donation program going? Share your experience to inspire other companies to follow in your footsteps! Click here and submit your Success Story - we can’t wait to hear from you!
Food Waste Stops with Me is a collaboration between Metro, the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, and city and county governments to help food service businesses reduce food waste.
*All videos have Closed Captions/Subtitles option for the following languages: Spanish, Vietnamese, Simplified Chinese, Russian and English
The leisure and hospitality industry is one of the largest employer pools in the country, employing over 16 million people nationwide. While a lot of progress has been made in this industry to push the talents of those with disabilities, obstacles still exist. Unfortunately, one of the greatest barriers is employers’ assumptions that people with disabilities may not be able to perform certain tasks due to their conditions. This misconception deprives the industry of great talent while denying countless people the chance to pursue fulfilling work. Here are some tips to learn how you can create opportunities for people with disabilities as an employer.
Know Your Responsibilities as an Employer
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is crucial to promoting an inclusive and accessible workplace, making it unlawful for employers to discriminate against a qualified individual who has a disability. Ensure all aspects of employment are fully accessible, including recruitment, hiring, and training. As an employer, you must engage in an interactive discussion with your employees or applicants to identify and provide reasonable accommodations, making sure those with disabilities can fully participate in your workplace. Don’t assume a candidate cannot perform the requirements of the job due to their disability. By adhering to the ADA’s requirements, you can ensure compliance with state and federal regulations.
Ensure Accessibility Through the Hiring Process
Ensuring compliance with the ADA also requires that your hiring process is accessible to those with disabilities. Embracing online applications is a pivotal move in this direction. By giving your applicants the option to apply online, you’ll break down physical barriers for candidates. Online applications can be tailored to accommodate various accessibility needs, such as screen readers, magnification tools, and keyboard navigation for individuals with visual impairments or mobility limitations. Keep in mind that your online applicants will probably want a PDF filler instead of having to print, fill out, and scan paper documents. Make your job applications available as fillable PDFs that your applicants can fill out and sign online!
Encourage Professional Advancement
According to JobSkills.org, encouraging your employees with disabilities to pursue professional advancement is a win-win strategy that can unlock the full potential of your team. For example, if you run a large chain with an IT department, empowering your employees to pursue an education in technology can ensure a highly-skilled and diverse IT team. With your support and mentorship, your employees can take steps for an online computer science degree, acquiring skills and knowledge they will bring back to your business. Furthermore, offering such opportunities signals to all employees that the company values their growth and is dedicated to building a workforce that reflects the richness of diverse talents and perspectives.
Align Roles with Individual Strengths
When you hire someone with a disability, try to align their roles with their unique strengths rather than focusing on the limitations of their disability. For example, individuals with great interpersonal skills may thrive in guest services, front desk positions, or concierge roles. In the realm of housekeeping, employees with physical disabilities can be valuable members of the housekeeping staff, contributing to the maintenance and cleanliness of your establishment. For food and beverage roles, identify specific positions that align with the individual’s abilities, such as hosting, taking orders, preparing food, or bussing tables.
Be sure to prioritize accessibility across all roles by providing the tools and equipment your staff need to do their jobs effectively. For those with hearing or vision challenges, the right software will ensure these employees can complete work on the computer. By recognizing and leveraging the unique strengths of employees with disabilities, and making reasonable accommodations wherever possible, you can create a diverse work environment with a low barrier to entry.
As the leisure and hospitality industry evolves, so must our approach to creating opportunities for people with disabilities. By increasing accessibility through the hiring process, like making applications available online, encouraging the professional development of our staff, and matching employees with roles in which they will thrive, we can maximize the potential of our workforce while unleashing a range of diverse skills and perspectives. | Martin Block
Guest Blog | Food Waste Stops with Me
As a food service business, you have the power to create a positive impact in your community by donating your excess edible food to local food banks and pantries. Not only does this provide much-needed nourishment to your hungry neighbors, but it also comes with many benefits for your business. In this blog post, we'll explore the advantages of donating your surplus food and how you can establish a program with the help of local government staff.
Support from Local Government
Setting up a food donation program is a straightforward process, especially when you have the support of local government staff. They can provide technical assistance with donation dos and don’ts, best practices for success and connect you with food banks and pantries in your area, ensuring that your excess edible food reaches those who need it most. By working together, you engage employees to create a strong network of support that uplifts your neighborhood and builds meaningful connections.
Liability Protection and Tax Incentives
Potential liability issues are among the leading concerns for businesses considering donating their food. Federal and state laws protect you from liability when you donate food in good faith that you believe to be safe and edible (Bill Emerson Food Donation Act and Oregon Good Samaritan Law). Additionally, your business may be eligible for tax incentives provided by the federal government, further reducing any financial burden and encouraging participation in food rescue programs.
Prevent Waste, Benefit the Environment
The hospitality industry generates a significant amount of food waste. By taking proactive measures to prevent avoidable waste by donating your excess abundance, you contribute to a healthier environment. Not only can this act of kindness save you money on disposal fees, but it also promotes goodwill for your business. Embracing sustainable practices like sharing extra food and ensuring it is not unnecessarily wasted showcases your commitment to making a difference in your region.
Enhancing Your Reputation and Community Engagement
Not only is donating food a responsible and compassionate choice, but it also boosts your business's reputation. When your customers see your dedication to giving back, they view your establishment as one that cares about its most vulnerable community members. This supportive act can increase customer loyalty, improve employee satisfaction and influence others in your industry to follow your lead.
Launch your food donation program today- it’s easy and rewarding! Visit FoodWasteStopsWithMe.org to learn more or to request assistance from a local food waste reduction specialist.
SHARE YOUR STORY!
Does your business have a successful donation program going? Share your experience to inspire other companies to follow in your footsteps! Click here and submit your Success Story- we can’t wait to hear from you!
Food Waste Stops with Me is a collaboration between Metro, the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, and city and county governments to help food service businesses reduce food waste.
This guest blog was submitted by Food Waste Stops with Me. For more information on guest blog opportunities, contact Marla McColly, Business Development Director, Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association.
A recent study by BMI and NRG (National Research Group) confirms that music positively impacts the way consumers interact with local eating and drinking establishments. According to the findings, bars and restaurants that feature live music have customers who eat, drink and spend more when listening to music they enjoy, resulting in higher revenues for many business owners.
Out of the 1,000 nationally represented U.S. consumers (1) surveyed across age demographics 21+, atmosphere and music are a big part of what keeps them returning to the establishments that they frequent. When taking a closer look at the data, specifically the responses of Millennials, music is the second most important feature they consider when selecting a bar or restaurant. In fact, it’s something they actively seek with more than half of respondents reporting that they often check the establishment’s website to see if they have live music before choosing where to go.
Music not only drives consumer traffic, but it also has the potential to increase revenue. The survey found that nearly 80% would stay longer if good music was playing, with close to 60% stating that they would buy more food and drinks to continue listening to music that they enjoy. That stat is even higher for Millennials at 70%.
Other findings show that music makes memories, and it has the potential to make or break the customer experience. Eighty-six percent of all those surveyed said that good music at a bar or restaurant creates a more memorable experience, with 89% of Millennials agreeing. Across the board, the younger generations show that music is an important part of the dining experience, with 84% of Gen Z and Millennials noting they are more likely to stay at a bar or restaurant with good music. If the music isn’t right, however, one out of two patrons said they would leave an establishment.
Live music also has very tangible benefits for consumers and businesses by creating ambiance and bringing people together while helping bars and restaurant owners differentiate themselves from competitors. Eighty-two percent said that their experience is more enjoyable with live music and noted that the type of music played tells a lot about the establishment, including helping to establish its brand. People were also more likely to wait for a table and grab a drink at the bar if live music was playing to keep them entertained with 81% of those surveyed saying they’d wait 20 minutes. That number rose to 87% when you just look at how Millennials responded, and 80% of that demographic would also pay for a two-drink minimum to hear live music.
In addition to consumers, restaurant owners and managers were also interviewed, sharing that they saw a clear boost in revenue on the nights that featured live music. An owner with breweries in Colorado and Utah confirmed that customers stay longer and spend more money when a band or DJ performs, commenting, “check averages tend to go up 5-10% … and revenues have jumped almost 25% on the nights that we have live music.” The owner of a family Italian restaurant in Atlanta, GA agreed, noting, “Without the [live] music we didn’t have the linger time, we would close sometimes at nine o’clock. With the live music, we could push one o’clock in a bedroom community. There were more liquor sales, and that’s a 75% profit margin.”
See infographic below, and for the complete survey, click here.
(1) A quantitative online survey among 1,000 nationally representative people age 21+ who regularly visit EDEs (at least 3x per month). To represent the B2B perspective, NRG conducted six in-depth-interviews with owners, operators and managers of bars and restaurants.
Do you enjoy vetting software vendors and doing maintenance on your router? For many hospitality business owners, technology may feel like a pesky inconvenience, particularly when it doesn’t work correctly. And it’s very easy to let tech and cybersecurity fall to the bottom of your to-do list, as you juggle the many day-to-day details of running your establishment.
Restaurants and Hotels are being targeted! No matter the size of your organization, ransomware and cyberattacks continue to grow. Approximately 80% of attacks result from human error. For many hospitality businesses, tech isn’t a strength and cyber criminals know it. While you’re busy creating great customer experiences, bad actors are looking for entry points to nab credit card data and gain access to your financial accounts.
In February 2023, Kroll IR Spotlight Trends reported the Retail/Restaurant sector is the most impacted industry sector so far in 2023. Email Compromise and Web Compromise were the top threat incident types impacting the retail / restaurant sector. In February, threats against the retail / restaurant sector most often involved CVE / Exploit as the initial access method.
Business email compromise results in six-figure loss
A restaurateur, building out a kitchen area, ordered several pieces of new equipment. With the grand opening date quickly approaching, the owners were eager to get everything completed on time. This enthusiasm led to haste and caused the CFO to miss warning signs of a cybercrime.
A criminal had accessed the equipment supplier’s ordering system and sent the CFO a message saying a supply chain issue was going to cause a shipment delay. However, there was one piece of equipment available if he was able to pay the same day. The email came from a recognized address, and the CFO jumped on the opportunity. He replied to the message, followed the payment instructions, and ended up sending the funds to a bad actor. Money gone. No equipment.
Cyber safety tips
Cybersecurity professionals talk about “zero trust.” For hospitality businesses, this means slowing down enough to verify requests. If someone asks for money by email or text message, be skeptical. Verify the request by calling a known contact. And if you can’t verify it, err on the side of caution. Do not send a payment, banking information, or credit card details unless you are certain where the money is going.
Further, examine emails for hints of foul play. Maybe the email address is wrong by one letter, or the time stamp is 2:00 a.m. Be wary if the wording sounds urgent, requesting a quick reply.
Unfortunately, cyber criminals know this. Bad actors are targeting the hospitality industry in an ever-growing number of ways. Here are some cautionary tales, along with cyber safety tips to protect your business.
Free webinar to bolster your knowledge
Risk Strategies is hosting a free webinar on April 25, "Cybersecurity in Hospitality: Don’t get blindsided." Register today and learn about common cybercrimes in our industry and how to prevent them. | Risk Strategies
While access to hotel financing has increased since the pandemic, finding the right lender can be difficult. This was the challenge faced by business partners Josh Boone and Tim Glover, who recently purchased Bandon Marina Inn, a beautiful 3,950-square-foot boutique hotel located on the Oregon coastline for $2.16 million.
When Boone and Glover initially explored financing options, the process was slow and arduous. Local lenders made offers, but none fell within their budget. Fortunately, they discovered TMC Financing’s SBA 504 commercial real estate loan.
The Small Business Administration's (SBA) 504 Program offers below-market, long-term, fixed-rate financing, to purchase, construct, or refinance hotels with a downpayment as low as 15%.
“We were midway through our original financing package when we learned about the terms of the SBA 504 loan,” explained Boone. “When we discovered that we only had to put 15% down, instead of the expected 25%, we happily switched to TMC Financing.”
With the money they saved, Boone and Glover were able to hire additional staff and prepare the Inn to ensure their guests would enjoy their stay.
Bryce Fennell, who administered the SBA 504 loan on behalf of TMC Financing explains that the SBA 504 loan is the most advantageous financing option for hoteliers.
“Conventional hotel lenders often require a high down payment,” explained Fennell. “However, the unique structure of the SBA 504 loan allows for a lower down payment and can even help finance hotel construction and renovation costs. The best part is, both franchised and independent hotels qualify for the program.”
Josh Boone and Tim Glover are incredibly thankful that they were able to take advantage of the SBA 504 Program.
“We wasted a lot of time talking with the wrong banks because we were unfamiliar with the SBA 504 option. I’m glad we made the switch to a 504 loan because purchasing real estate is a big step, a step we wanted to take to create a better tomorrow for our families. The SBA believed in what we were doing, and it really helped us paint a long-term picture for success.”
SBA 504 Financing for Your Hotel Property
By utilizing the SBA 504 Loan Program hoteliers can take advantage of below-market, fixed rate financing for the purchase construction or expansion of commercial real estate including equipment and furnishings. Hotel owners can utilize the SBA 504 refinance loan to lower occupancy costs and access cash trapped in commercial real estate holdings. | TMC Financing
TMC Financing is the #1 SBA 504 lender in the nation, contact them today to learn more about an SBA 504 loan for your business.
This guest blog was submitted by TMC Financing. For more information on guest blog opportunities, contact Marla McColly, Business Development Director, Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association.
Guest Blog | Food Waste Stops with Me
Food waste is a significant challenge for restaurants and hotels. Not only is it bad for the environment, but it also costs businesses money. One aspect of food waste that can be particularly tricky is customer plate waste. Unlike kitchen waste, where chefs have complete control over what goes into the trash, what is left on the plate can be tricky to manage because we don't always get feedback on why certain items are uneaten. However, there are some steps that the hospitality industry can take to minimize customer plate waste without sacrificing service or satisfaction.
Monitoring and tracking food regularly left on the plate is essential so restaurants and hotels can identify trends and make adjustments to reduce waste. Consider tracking food waste by meal or day of the week to identify areas of improvement.
Menu design can play a huge role in reducing plate waste. Offering flexible menu options, such as customizable meals or à la carte options, can allow customers to choose exactly what they want and reduce the likelihood of wasted food. Monitor menu items that are being wasted and adjust their offerings accordingly. For example, if a particular dish, side, condiment or garnish is consistently left on the plate, the portion can be reduced or removed from the menu. This not only reduces waste but also saves money on ingredients.
One of the biggest reasons for customer plate waste is oversized portions. Customers may be hesitant to order smaller portions for fear of not getting their money's worth, so offering a range of portion sizes, ala carte options or customizable dishes and pricing accordingly can help to alleviate this concern. Additionally, using smaller plates can create the illusion of a fuller plate without increasing the amount of food served.
Sharing with staff the benefits of reducing plate waste can go a long way. Educating staff on portion control, menu design, and food waste reduction can help them understand the importance of minimizing plate waste and achieving this goal. Additionally, staff can be taught to ask customers about their food preferences, allergies, and portion sizes to help guide their meal choices and prevent waste.
By implementing these best practices, restaurants and hotels can minimize plate waste while improving customer satisfaction and saving money. Furthermore, preventing food waste can help to promote a more sustainable and environmentally friendly food industry. Check out this video from the Food Waste Stops with Me initiative for more details and insight.
Food Waste Stops with Me is a collaboration between Metro, the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, as well as city and county governments to help food service businesses reduce food waste.
Visit FoodWasteStopsWithMe.org for more food waste prevention resources or to request free assistance from a local food waste reduction specialist.
Guest Blog | Healthy Hospitality
We know the importance of having health insurance and its impact on our well-being. Health insurance not only helps prevent and manage chronic conditions but also helps avoid expensive medical bills.
If you have employees who have health insurance through their state Medicaid program, starting in April they could get an unexpected notice that their coverage will be dropped within 60 days.
Due to a pandemic measure, over the past three years, states stopped checking if people who are enrolled in Medicaid are still eligible. Today, if their income is higher or a child turned 18 for example, they could be disqualified for current Medicare benefits.
Starting in April and over the next twelve months states are tasked with auditing eligibility. It is expected that Medicaid redetermination will find approximately 15-18 million currently enrolled Medicaid subscribers no longer qualify and will be removed from the program.
Those people will likely receive a notice in the mail and if they miss it, they could find themselves unknowingly without coverage. Don’t let this happen; be a resource for your employees and let them know Medicaid redetermination is happening and they could be affected. During a pre-shift meeting teach them to be proactive and to get help from Healthy Hospitality’s free insurance matching service for hospitality employees. Much like an exchange but more streamlined with live experts ready to help, the free service will ensure employees get the lowest-priced health care insurance plans to choose from and understand the maximum federal subsidies they qualify for. Your understanding of this process can help ensure your team stays insured and protected. | By Leslie Teague, Healthy Hospitality Business Consultant
Employers may request a free break-room poster about this topic and learn more about the health and wellness solutions offered by Healthy Hospitality by visiting Healthy-hospitality.org or emailing Leslie Teague.
This guest blog was submitted by Healthy Hospitality. For more information on guest blog opportunities, contact Marla McColly, Business Development Director, Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association.
Guest Blog | Dell Technologies
Mobile is the New Normal
With February standing as the lone month to celebrate Black History, many Black-owned restaurants are experiencing heightened traffic through their doors. In 2020, people across the country came together to support local restaurants that faced having to close their doors for good due to the pandemic. Among the local restaurants, were Black-owned restaurants that needed a bit more financial support than the average franchise or chain restaurant. Some cities, including Portland, have adopted “Black Restaurant Week” to support the Black-owned restaurants that have been staples in the communities for decades. In 2023, restaurants that survived the loss of business have had to adjust to the industry’s new normal of having more flexible, mobile options.
During Black History Month, Black-owned restaurants can prepare for the increased business by operating with technology products that will help provide the best service to incoming customers. The average customer prioritizes timely and friendly service, in addition to tasty food options on a menu. To provide the quickest service possible, it is recommended that the technology that is used to run the day-to-day operations is updated every 5-6 years. In a restaurant, point of sale systems are the bread and butter (no pun intended) for payment options. In previous decades, restaurant owners have dealt with only operating business from bulky cash registers and systems that lagged when trying to do basic functions. Those days are long gone. Over the years, Elo Touch Solutions (a Dell Technologies partner), has worked to create quick, modern, and minimalistic models for the restaurants that care about simple and aesthetically pleasing systems. These systems include kiosks and handheld mobile devices, that assist with reducing the length of lines during busy times of the day such as lunch and dinner hours.
A busy lunch line that is almost out of the door. There are cashiers up at the front assisting customers as quick as they possibly can, however, the line continues to lengthen which affects the customer service. Customers begin to grow frustrated with the wait time, and tension begins to build. The cooks are doing their best to cook the food and serve it accurately based on each order that was placed. There are few employees tasked with assisting during lunchtime. They pick up their mobile devices and begin assisting customers in line. Having mobile options give the opportunity for more cashiers to engage in one-on-one conversation with each customer, while also providing personal recommendations from the menu that the customer wouldn’t traditionally order. Customers are more likely to ask questions and there’s not as much pressure.
For the customer that doesn’t have much time during their lunch break, they are likely looking to place an order to carry back to work. Having a kiosk available, gives them an option to place the order independently instead of spending additional time waiting in line.
Black-owned restaurants have an opportunity to compete with large restaurant corporations. This is the perfect month to embark on a journey of growth, and technology can be used to lead the way. | Lechelle Delaughter, Dell Technologies
Guest Blog | Risk Strategies’ Fournier Group
If you hurry the hiring process to get a heartbeat in the kitchen, you may end up buying yourself a worker's compensation claim. Here are six tips for mitigating this risk in restaurants.
1. Evaluate the ongoing impact of the pandemic
Hiring managers continue to face a talent shortage in the hospitality field. During the height of the pandemic, numerous workers left the industry altogether or relocated permanently to geographic areas with fewer public health restrictions.
To stay afloat and meet pent-up customer demand, many employers began hiring any reasonable applicant, including people without prior hospitality experience. Short staffing also led to quick onboarding, sometimes without in-depth safety training. Frequency and severity of workers’ compensation claims began to climb from avoidable risks such as improper lifting technique, knife injuries, and equipment accidents.
If you’ve seen an uptick in claims, analyze the details to determine where additional training and mentoring could reduce the risk of similar incidents in the future.
2. Look holistically at employees’ needs
To maximize margin, some restaurants keep wages as low as possible and hours under the threshold for employee benefits. As a result, many hospitality workers cobble together two or more part-time jobs to cover basic living expenses. They may be working odd hours, seven days a week, short on sleep, and barely scraping by. Tired employees make more mistakes and have more accidents. And when employees are living hand-to-mouth and scared, they sometimes become litigious, which can add to your claim exposure.
To mitigate risk, get creative in helping employees meet basic needs. Though it’s counter-intuitive, investing in the wellbeing of your workforce can boost margin by reducing attrition, absenteeism, workers’ comp claims, and associated expenses.
In high cost-of-living areas, some employers provide subsidized housing as an employee benefit to ensure their people have a place near work to sleep and recharge. Compare the cost and tax benefits against a potential workers’ comp claim, and you may find the math creates a win-win for you and your employees.
3. Choose restaurant workers who fit your culture
Finding right-fit team members starts with articulating your unique value proposition, customer service philosophy, and the workplace culture you want to create. What draws customers to you? Generally, patrons are looking for more than a tasty burger or clean carpet. They may want to create memories, celebrate a special event, have a romantic evening, enjoy music, laugh, relax, build community, or other goals. You want employees who understand your vision and are enthusiastic about bringing it to life.
The old story of the bricklayer applies here. When describing their jobs, do your team members say they are laying bricks or building a cathedral? Cathedral builders are problem solvers, innovators, and people who persevere through challenges to build something great. If they do get hurt on the job, these employees are less likely to prolong a workers’ compensation claim. They want to get back to cathedral building as soon as they can, because they’re excited to be part of your mission.
4. Incent employees to refer their friends for jobs
When people are enthusiastic about their workplace, they’re eager to tell friends and family about open positions. Since employees know their friends’ strengths and weaknesses, they’re in a unique position to identify strong candidates.
Ask your employees, “Who do you know that would be a good fit on our team and enjoy working here?” A formal employee referral program gives team members a chance to create their own community. They earn bonuses for each referral hired. Some employers create a tiered system where employees receive additional dollars once their referrals reach three months, six months, and one year of employment.
Having friends in the workplace increases the likelihood of sticking with a job. Strong employee retention boosts your margin because recruiting and training costs drop. Also, more job experience typically equates to fewer accidents. If a workplace injury occurs, your team’s strong camaraderie can inspire a faster return to work.
5. Create a supportive return-to-work program
When you have the right people on your staff, they often want to get back to work as soon as possible after an injury, because they miss the community and sense of purpose.
An innovative return-to-work program can mitigate workers’ compensation costs, while also protecting against the depression that some people experience when injured. Even if an injured employee is unable to do their regular job, they may be able to contribute meaningfully in a different way. For example, you can provide a chef with a laptop to write down recipes or develop a training manual for new hires. Consider engaging an injured employee as a mentor for a newer team member.
Each return-to-work scenario involves a three-way partnership between the employer, employee, and doctor. You need a clearly defined process for how you’ll work together to brainstorm options and determine creative accommodations.
6. Enlist employees to share their skills and best practices with the team
In one restaurant, an experienced chef honed his knife before every use and was fastidious about knife safety. His supervisor tapped him to train the whole staff.
Each of your team members brings unique skills to the job that could be helpful for other employees. Engaging them to teach and mentor conveys that you value what they bring to the table. You elevate the knowledge of your whole team, and employees feel their contributions matter, which can boost engagement and retention.
When peers reinforce safety, through educating and watching out for each other, you reduce your risk of workplace accidents.
Restaurant risk management involves more than insurance
In hospitality, your hiring decisions and corporate culture can affect your workers’ compensation costs down the road.
Mitigating this risk requires active management — an ongoing process of analysis and innovation. If you view risk management as a transaction, passive purchase, or product you buy once a year, you can end up hurting your bottom line.
Sometimes, managing risks requires behavior change on the part of restaurateurs. This can involve rethinking how you recruit, train, manage, and motivate your team. As these changes produce a better customer experience and safer workplace, you protect your margin and set the foundation for robust profitability.
The contents of this article are for general informational purposes only and Risk Strategies Company makes no representation or warranty of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy or completeness of any information contained herein. Any recommendations contained herein are intended to provide insight based on currently available information for consideration and should be vetted against applicable legal and business needs before application to a specific client.
Guest Blog | Adesso Capital
We hear it all the time: Businesses aren’t filing for the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) because of the misconceptions surrounding the program. In fact, less than 20% of eligible businesses have claimed their ERC. Which is why ORLA partnered with Adesso Capital’s team of tax experts to address some common myths about the ERC:
Myth 1: I can’t claim the ERC because I’ve already received PPP funds.
The most frequent falsehood we hear is that retailers, restaurants, and other hospitality businesses can’t receive funds from both the Paycheck Protection Program and the ERC.
This was true at one time. But a change to the CARES Act in December 2020 removed the restriction against applying for both. This vital change went largely under the radar.
Myth 2: My business has grown during the pandemic. Isn’t the ERC only for businesses that are hurting?
Economic injury isn’t the only condition to receive ERC credits. If your business was affected by operating restrictions or supply chain issues, you’re eligible.
Myth 3: My business was deemed an essential business, so I don’t qualify.
Even essential businesses were subject to reduced operating hours, or reduced capacity. Just about every “essential” business (and that definition varies from state to state) was forced to operate under pandemic restrictions at some point, making even essential businesses eligible for the ERC.
Myth 4: I’m not eligible because employees I had in 2020-21 have since quit, were fired, or were replaced.
The Employee Retention Credit is based on the number of employees on the payroll, not specific employees. Turnover in the restaurant business is common but it doesn’t prevent you from claiming what could be tens of thousands of dollars in taxes you’ve already paid.
Myth 5: My business wasn’t shut down during the pandemic.
For much of the relevant ERC time period, businesses weren’t forced to be closed. The ERC covers 2020 but also three quarters of 2021 – a timeframe when most businesses were back to business as usual.
Myth 6: My business’ sales rebounded in the first quarter of 2021, so I’m not eligible.
Thanks to a change to the CARES Act, you have the option to look at one quarter prior. This means Adesso can determine eligibility based on lost revenue in 2020. Also, if your business was subject to a full or partial suspension, you may qualify regardless.
The truth is, filing for the ERC is complicated. We would hate to find out you missed out on receiving up to $26,000 per employee because you got some bad advice. Or because you believed the myths out there about the ERC program.
We know there are tons of things your business could do with the money. Let Adesso take care of the entire refund filing process, from the initial phone call to follow-ups. All you need to do to get started is to schedule a call to see how much you qualify for.
Guest Blog | Oregon Beverage Alliance
As we near the holidays, the Oregon Beverage Alliance wants to remind you to drink responsibly. Making smart choices – including finding a ride home when you’ve had too much to drink – saves lives.
The encouraging news is that several pieces of recent data suggest that Americans are drinking responsibly. Consider these data points:
Adults Are Drinking Less
Recent research by Gallup found that only 60% of Americans say that they drink alcohol – down from 65% in 2019 and at one of its lowest rates in 60 years. The number of drinks that Americans report to researchers as having consumed in the prior week is also at its lowest point since 2001 according to Gallup’s research. In fact, those who drink averaged 3.6 drinks per week – the lowest total in 20 years.
Young Adults Are Also Drinking Even Less
According to data from JAMA Pediatrics, the number of college students who abstain from alcohol jumped to 28% in 2018 – up from 20% in 2002. Additionally, instances of alcohol use disorder have dropped almost 50% in that time period. Combined alcohol and marijuana use disorder has similarly dropped by over a third in that same time.
Demand for Alcohol Treatment Is Decreasing
The proportion of patients admitted to addiction and recovery programs due to alcohol use is declining nationally. Admissions for addiction treatment where alcohol is a primary or secondary cause have dropped 21% and 42% respectively over the past decade, according to data from the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Addiction to Hard Drugs Remains a Challenge in Oregon
In a June update to the Oregon Legislature from the Oregon Alcohol and Drug Policy Commission they reported that Oregon leads the nation in misuse of drugs such as meth and opioids. While Oregon spends more on drug addiction recovery and prevention than 75% of other states, we’re not getting the results our state needs due to lack of coordination and accountability within the Oregon Health Authority and drug addiction recovery providers.
What Does It All Mean?
We know that most people drink responsibly and multiple datapoints continue to confirm that sentiment. As local business owners and residents, Oregon Beverage Alliance members care deeply about our communities. That’s why we invest and create so many jobs here in Oregon. Without question, more needs to be done to address drug addiction and we stand ready and willing to work with lawmakers and stakeholders on these issues.
The Oregon Beverage Alliance is made up of local brewers, winemakers, cidermakers, distillers and their supply and hospitality partners. Collectively, the industries generate more than $14 billion in economic activity for the state. The 70,000 jobs just beer and wine create, generates more than $3 billion in Oregon wages. Beer, wine, cider and spirits are an essential part of Oregon’s economy and identity.
If you own a restaurant or hotel and are interested in attracting workers with disabilities, you've made a wise decision. By embracing a diverse workforce, you are committing to greater inclusivity. Additionally, research published in the Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation suggests that companies that hire workers with disabilities benefit from greater employee loyalty, reduced worker turnover, and greater profits. While you may be clear on the benefits, you may be unclear on how to best attract and hire a more diverse workforce.
Take care of basic tasks needed to hire workers with disabilities
Before you start recruiting, take care of some housekeeping items. First, if you don't have one, get an employer identification number, which is an important step as you set up a new company. The EIN is assigned by the IRS and you'll need it for payroll. Second, make sure your workspace accommodates disabled persons. For example, you may want to add a wheelchair-friendly bathroom and useful technology, like screen readers—which help persons with visual hurdles. Finally, provide disability awareness training for existing employees, preparing them for the changes ahead.
Institute flexible working arrangements if possible
According to Allianz Care, another way you can make your workplace more friendly to people with disabilities is with flexible working arrangements. For example, you might allow people to work remotely. This can make your business more appealing for persons with mobility hurdles, for example. Of course, not all jobs lend themselves to telecommuting. In this case, offering non-standard working hours or intermittent flexibility if you can't commit to a full-time remote schedule is helpful.
Establish a benefits program that takes people with disabilities into account
When it comes to attracting top talent, you need to think about more than salaries. This is especially for people who are disabled. A benefits package that speaks to your target audience can make a big difference. There are many different types of benefits you can implement to attract workers, such as health insurance, retirement planning support, transportation assistance, and child care. One way to figure out what kinds of benefits workers would appreciate is to ask them outright.
Revamp your recruitment processes
Once you have the basics in place to make your workplace friendly for the disabled, it's time to start recruiting. MIUSA offers tips for writing relevant job ads, such as promoting disability inclusion and noting that you have a budget for reasonable workplace accommodations.
Develop an inclusive onboarding and career development program
Once you've hired your new employees, the work doesn't stop. Make sure to include them in a detailed onboarding program. Start by ensuring easy access on their first day and leaving plenty of time to introduce them to the office. Then, make sure you have the technology on hand to accommodate their needs. Share training materials in multiple formats if needed, from written guides to videos. As your new workers settle in, make sure to touch base with them regularly to discuss career planning, so you can support their further development.
Reflect inclusivity throughout your brand
When including workers with disabilities in your business, you want to ensure that your brand reflects this inclusivity. You should share it at every stage, internally and externally, ensuring a clear reflection of your business’s diversity and inclusion values. For example, you want to make sure your marketing efforts are just as inclusive as your hiring efforts. This could involve doing things like making sure your website is compatible with assistive devices and using diverse images of people in your marketing materials.
Creating a more inclusive culture in your business by hiring workers with disabilities benefits all involved. The above article provides some tips to guide you through the process. | Martin Block