To the Cannon Beach City Council,
I recently became aware of a proposed food and beverage tax on restaurants and eateries in Cannon Beach and am writing to voice my opposition.
I understand our city may need new sources of funding, but I ask you to consider the intense burden our small community of restaurants is already weathering. Our industry has been hurt incredibly hard by this pandemic – its effects fast and deep. While it is true that local retail and hotels may have benefitted more than usual under these unprecedented circumstances – the reality for restaurants is quite different.
This has been an extraordinarily difficult 14+ months. Were it not for federal assistance, most of our employees would be in dire financial situations, especially those who rely on tips as a substantial supplement to their wages. We are among the fortunate few who were able to add additional outdoor seating – but not enough to compensate for operating at 25% - 50% capacity, lowered still by seating limitations and required table distance to ensure a safe and healthy environment. Revenue loss has been extraordinary and adding such a tax will make our slow recovery even harder.
There are hard costs to such a change – including software updates, additional labor for staff training and additional required processing; but more importantly are the soft costs – customer challenges and explanations, slower table turnaround to accommodate those explanations, lower tips for our employees, and lessening the overall attraction to dining in Cannon Beach when communities without this tax are near, abundant, and the norm in our State with few sales and value-added taxes. Customer goodwill will suffer substantially, and restaurants will bear the loss.
Please consider my strong objection to this tax. Our restaurant has been a destination for locals and travelers alike for 77 years, and we do not take that support for granted. I remain respectfully grateful for the quick decisions and flexibility of the City in allowing us to remain open safely during these challenging months and certainly support your efforts in service of our community – but not with this tax.
Please keep me informed of any meetings or discussions about this issue so myself and other owners and managers can communicate their opposition.
Paul Nofield - (Owner, Driftwood Restaurant and Lounge)