Weekly Update: Thank you, WRA and WLA members, for making this year’s Hill Climb a stunning success

Weekly Update: Thank you, WRA and WLA members, for making this year’s Hill Climb a stunning success https://wahospitality.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/hillclimb-gova2016.jpg

On January 25, more than 200 restaurant and hotel, owners and operators came to Olympia. This dedicated group arrived at the state capitol to act as a voice for the hospitality industry. Washington depends heavily on the hospitality sector as it pays more than $811 million in sales and B&O taxes alone. It also contributes more than $4 billion dollars in wages that feed back into the local economy. Hill Climb is an annual event that is the best chance for neighborhood business people to leave hot kitchens and busy lobbies to meet with the lawmakers who impact their jobs. The theme for this year’s Hill Climb was “Hospitality: the industry that serves. People. Careers. Communities.”

“The most critical aspect of this day is that local business people have the opportunity to share what it actually takes to run their business in our state. Washington’s hospitality sector is full of small businesses; 84 percent of restaurants employ 20 or fewer people,” said Anthony Anton, CEO of the WRA and WLA. “This event is an important day for our members. The hospitality industry survives within tiny margins; so due to that, the bottom line of every hospitality business is effected by changing regulations. This year we were successful again at delivering that message to state lawmakers.”

Hill Climb participants attended a briefing on important issues, networked with other industry professionals and then met with individual legislators and Gov. Jay Inslee to talk about key topics. Topping the list of hospitality industry issues was: liquor fees and regulations; tourism; and handling minimum wage increases the right way. Later that day more than 400 stakeholders, legislators, restaurateurs and hoteliers attended the Taste Our Best Legislative Reception. If you would like more information about the 2016 event or how to participate next year contact the WRA’s Kaare Ness at KaareN@warestuarant.org.

Spokane Chapter Annual Awards Gala, February 2 – don’t miss it!

The WRA’s Spokane Chapter Annual Awards Gala will take place on February 2. The “Celebrating the Community” Gala will take place at the Lincoln Center (1316 N Lincoln St, Spokane) from 5-9 p.m. and tickets are $55 per person. The evening will include a silent auction, awards, music and mingling. Visit warestaurant.org/wra-events/spokanegala/ to purchase tickets or email Robyn@RedLetterEventPlanning.com for information on sponsorship opportunities or silent auction donations. Also, save the date for the Annual Golf Outing at Wandermere Golf Course, in Spokane, June 7. More information on the 2016 Golf Tournament will be available in the spring of 2016.

Help your association help you! Please participate in our annual membership survey

Over the next several weeks, representatives from Verometrics will be conducting a membership satisfaction phone survey. It is your opportunity to provide direct feedback to the association team on a number of subjects. You can give us direction on programs provided to you via your membership, how you receive industry information to legislative priorities to challenges you are currently facing in your business. We ask that you make time to answer these questions if you are contacted. The results guide the association to make decisions on programs we offer, how to best communicate and direct our strategic planning. If you have any questions about the survey, please contact the WRA’s Sheryl Jackson at SherylJ@warestaurant.org.

Spokane Paid Leave Guide – a must read for our Spokane members

On January 11, the Spokane City Council passed a mandatory Paid Leave Ordinance for the City of Spokane. This ordinance will be effective on Jan. 1, 2017. We have created a Spokane Paid Leave Guide in order to help our members. This guide is intended to help businesses navigate this new law but this guide should not be considered a substitute for legal counsel. The City of Spokane is also working on an employee notice for this ordinance that will be available soon. If you have any questions about the new ordinance, contact your local GA Coordinator Zachary Lindahl at Zacharyl@warestaurant.org. The Paid Leave Guide can be found at wra.cc/SpokanePaidLeave.

My Cheese Shoppe and H.I.H.I.T. on this week’s DineNW radio show – now online

Don’t miss this week’s DineNW radio show, now online. Co-hosts Andy Cook and Paul Schlienz kick off the show by interviewing Laurie Sanders-Polen, owner of Puyallup’s My Cheese Shoppe. Ross Boylan and Andy then discuss health-care solutions with Joe Peoples of Hospitality Industry Health Insurance Trust (H.I.H.I.T.).

Washington Restaurant Market Watch: Now is the time for disaster preparedness

It could come like a thief in the night. Without warning, the earth could start shaking violently in the 9.0 earthquake we all know is coming to the Northwest, but like to put out of our minds and hope that it will wait at least another 100 years, when many of us won’t be around to experience it. It could come as suddenly as the Oso landslide, where lives and property were lost in nearly the twinkling of an eye. It could come as a tsunami with 30 minutes warning before it devastates your coastal town. It could come as fire down your Central Washington hillside. It could come as wind storm that knocks out your power and uproots trees. It could come as a flood when a river overflows its banks, inundating your town in the valley bottom lands. The Northwest environment often seems calm and serene, but this is deceptive. There are plenty of disasters and other emergencies just waiting to happen. Smart restaurant operators will get prepared now before they find themselves in the midst of a critical situation. Read more…

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