CHALLENGES AND RESPONSE
A Family of Hardworking Winners
“Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life." – Amy Poehler, actress
Many of us who have been around for a while refer to those in our industry as our “Hospitality Family.”
The more someone works around those who are committed to service, the more connected and inspired they themselves often become.
With the onset of the pandemic, never has the innovative spirit, business savvy, and caring soul of our ‘family’ been so challenged. Our team at the Oregon Hospitality Foundation (OHF) and the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association see the daily struggles of our hospitality business partners and have been inspired by the innovative solutions launched in response. Encouraged by these efforts to address their business’ and community’s needs, we too have initiated proactive efforts in support.
In my last article, I mentioned that the foundation’s Board of Directors took steps to strengthen our organization, including: renaming ourselves the Oregon Hospitality Foundation, expanding our mission to support philanthropic projects, launching new fundraising programs, and creating new training support appropriate to current needs.
What’s happened since?
We have received requests for training assistance with the unique guest service and communication difficulties currently being experienced because of the pandemic. In response, we are creating an online series of easily digestible micro-sessions that share
tips on how associates can provide positive service while still supporting safety protocols.
The theme, ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,’ focuses on helping prevent uncomfortable scenarios from escalating and causing unwelcome consequences by anticipating potential scenarios and practicing responses. Topics include;
We are grateful for a grant from Travel Oregon, sponsorship from Dutch Bros Coffee and EPB&B insurance, and our partnership with Togather Restaurant Consulting and VPW Media for their project support. We expect the series to be released in early fall. See release updates at OregonGuestServiceSafety.org.
Takeout and A Movie Fundraiser
Currently, we have raised and donated money to fourteen restaurants throughout the state who are providing a variety of solutions for helping feed those with food insecurity. Many of these restaurants are working to incorporate ongoing food support as part of their business model. Read more about these folks who are working hard to help change people’s lives by providing them with caring meals in our Champions article on page 16. You can also see a press release summary at bit.ly/OHFhelpawards. Additional awards are still available, see the application at OregonRLA.org/takeoutapp.
We also collaborated with Cycle Oregon and Filmed by Bike to present a film festival and Q&A that focused attention on the economic benefits of the hospitality and tourism industry to Oregon’s communities and now our industry’s own critical need for public support. A portion of the event’s proceeds were donated to the Cycle Oregon Fund, a grant program that supports projects including tourism and community projects particularly in rural areas.
Top of mind for many families are the myriad of struggles encountered in coping with the new demands of virtual education for students, parents, teachers, and our entire education system. We have been actively involved with discovering and creating resources for those who use our workforce training and Career & Technical Education (CTE) curriculum, such as ProStart.
One example was our partnership with Rouxbe, an online culinary school for professionals, to provide their academic resources and videos to ProStart schools on a free trial basis and later for reduced fees. We are also seeking sponsorships and grant funding that will enable us to provide online and on-demand videos to support teachers’ virtual curriculum needs. The vision is to feature industry colleagues who will highlight various aspects such as job opportunities, facility tours, career pathways, customer service techniques, new safety protocols in place, and/or offer engaging skill-building demonstrations.
Additionally, we are collaborating with Chemeketa Community College, the Oregon Coast Visitor’s Association, and the state’s workforce boards to ensure that quality hospitality training is available and accessible online, particularly for entry-level and supervisory positions. The goal is to help employees ‘hit the ground running,’ in order to reduce onsite training time needed and offer immediate value to employers.
I have yet to find the right words that portray my realistic recognition of the enormity of current challenges, particularly for our industry, nor my optimism that we will eventually recover.
However, no one knows how to work harder than our Hospitality Family, so maybe the quote below is appropriate and helps explain my optimism about the outcome of our efforts, together.
“As much as talent counts, effort counts twice.”
- Angela Duckworth, American academic, psychologist and
popular science author
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Unfortunately, looking toward the upcoming fiscal year, the foundation anticipates a 75 percent drop in revenue due to contract and sponsor funding reductions from affected partners. Your in-kind and financial contributions are greatly appreciated so that we may sustain and continue our good work. You can donate today at bit.ly/OHFDonation. Thank you. | Wendy Popkin, Oregon Hospitality Foundation
Wendy Popkin is the Executive Director of the Oregon Hospitality Foundation, a nonprofit 501c3 dedicated to providing educational, training, and philanthropic support to Oregon’s restaurant, lodging, and tourism industry. Wendy is a 35-year career veteran who describes herself as “fanatically enthusiastic about helping others enjoy the same type of fabulous career opportunities I have enjoyed in the hospitality industry.” OregonHospitalityFoundation.org
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