Weekly Update: Snow Didn’t Stop 2017 Hill Climb

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Snow Didn’t Stop 2017 Hill Climb

Hospitality members didn’t let a snowstorm stop them. Nearly 100 Washington state hoteliers and restaurateurs trekked to the Washington Hospitality Association’s annual Hill Climb and Taste Our Best legislative reception on Feb. 6 in Olympia. With a full list of issues impacting Washington businesses in 2017, members passionately educated and built relationships one-on-one with legislators. The event was a milestone. It was the first time hotels and restaurants were represented as the united front of the Washington Hospitality Association. Read more…


Tourism marketing bill moves forward in Olympia

Tourism is critical to our industry and to our state’s economy. Nevertheless, Washington is the only state without a statewide tourism marketing program. The Washington Hospitality Association has been working to change that. Last summer we participated in a stakeholder group that helped write  House Bill 1123  and its companion Senate Bill 5251. The bills establish a tourism marketing authority through the state that is funded two to one by private employers and the state. HB 1123 has moved out of policy committee and was referred to the House Appropriations Committee. View our State Government Affairs Manager Morgan Hickel’s testimony in support of HB 1123 here.


Action Alert: Tell Congress Not to Repeal Debit Card Swipe Fee Reform

In 2010, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act brought relief to restaurants by limiting the ability of financial institutions to charge unreasonable debit card swipe fees on many transactions. Today, debit swipe fees average between 24 and 27 cents per transaction, nearly half what it was before Dodd-Frank. Unfortunately, some in Congress want to repeal this critical reform. Click here and tell Congress to leave debit swipe fee reform alone. Ask your member of Congress to oppose any repeal efforts in the upcoming Financial CHOICE Act.


Bill to Tax Pop Syrup Introduced
On Feb. 3, House Bill 1975 was introduced. The bill is a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages (including imitation sugar and diet drinks). This is not the first time the Legislature has sought to tax soda or other non-alcoholic drinks to fill budget gaps. In 2010, Gov. Christine Gregoire attempted to remove the B&O tax credit on pop syrup. Currently, pop syrup is already taxed at a rate of $1 dollar per gallon. We were successful in protecting our members in 2010 and we are fighting to protect you now. We will keep you up to date on the progress of this bill. For more information, contact Stephanie McManus.


Teen Wage/Minimum Wage Update

Senate Bill 5541, which would institute a teen wage, was heard in a Senate policy committee on Feb. 2. Julia Gorton, the Washington Hospitality Association director of State Government Affairs, testified in support. The bill would offer a different wage for workers under 18. Every year teenagers work, their income rises 14 to 16 percent in their twenties. These first jobs are vital to the economy, but hiring teens can be expensive after the passage of I-1433. Another bill seeking to lower the first increase set forth by I-1433, from $11 per hour to $10 per hour, House Bill 1724, was also introduced. It has not been scheduled for a hearing. For more information, contact Stephanie McManus.


ProStart Competition, Feb. 18 – Don’t miss it

Washington’s ProStart Invitational, with brand new title sponsor FSA, takes place on Saturday, Feb. 18, at the McGavick Conference Center at Clover Park Technical College in Lakewood. Culinary and management ProStart teams from across Washington will compete to advance to the National ProStart Invitational. Don’t miss it. For more information, contact Sandra Miller


SHA’s Evening of Hope Raises $700,000 to Fight Homelessness

Seattle hoteliers and friends turned out in force last Saturday for the Seattle Hotel Association’s 20th annual Evening of Hope. Together, they raised $700,000 for Mary’s Place, a nonprofit providing food, shelter and services to people in need. Read more.


2 Minute Video Update – What You Need to Know

Don’t miss this great video recap of the past week’s news. Listen for details on the upcoming Prostart Invitational, the King County Restaurant Grading System curve and the very successful Spokane Gala.


Increase Party Sizes at Your Restaurant

Watch the newest video in our Advisory Network series. Rick Braa, principal at AMP Services, outlines strategies for increasing party sizes. This video is part four in a five part series on how to build sales at your restaurant. If you want to watch all of the videos from the Advisory Network, you can find them here. Consultations with the Washington Hospitality Association Advisory Network is a free member benefit. If you have a question, contact your area coordinator and we’ll put you in touch with one of the Network’s industry experts.


Ravenleaf Public House and Puget Sound Food Hub on DineNW

Don’t miss this week’s DineNW radio show, now online. Co-hosts Andy Cook and Paul Schlienz interview Matt Swain, executive chef at Seattle’s Ravenleaf Public House. Andy and Paul then chat with Mike Finger, president of the Puget Sound Food Hub.


Eyes on Hospitality: Don’t Forget the Baby Boomers

Sixty-two percent of all quick service/drive-in restaurant visits during the coming 10 years will be from guests in the 50 or older range, according to research from MRI research. This translates into an additional 1.4 billion visits by 50-plus consumers in comparison to comparison to an increase of merely 875 million among the 18-49 age group. Read more…