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Ashland Hills Inn closes restaurant

ASHLAND -- The restaurant and lounge at Windmill's Ashland Hills Innclosed for good at — p.m. Sunday.

It's a trend in the industry, said Jean Cauvin, presidentand chief executive of Windmill Inns. Guests will say our restaurantis good, but they want to know about someplace else to eat. It's happeningall over the country.

Guests will be provided a shuttle service to downtown Ashland for breakfast,lunch and dinner, he said. They'll also receive coffee, muffin, juice anda newspaper each morning.

We have many fine restaurants in Ashland, Cauvin said. I'msure they're happy to hear this.

And people will also have the option of having food delivered, he added.

You never used to see a Pizza Hut delivery person going throughthe hallway of a full-service hotel, he said.

Ashland Hills, with 231 rooms, is the largest motel in Southern Oregon.Cauvin said 90 percent of the Ashland Hills Inn's guests are tourists, whoare more inclined than business travelers to seek Ashland's downtown restaurants.

The space vacated by the restaurant and lounge will be converted to otheruses. Some will be available for catered events and some hasn't been allocated,Cauvin said.

Gala Catering will handle the establishment's food service commitmentsthrough the end of the year. Starting next year, Cauvin said, customerswill be given a choice of a dozen or more caterers with various price rangesand cuisine. Julie Haggard was recently appointed meeting coordinator.

The restaurant staff was notified of the decision at — p.m. Sunday, justas the closure occurred.

Morale is very important in this industry, Cauvin said. Afteryou give people two weeks' notice, their minds are not on their job.

All 52 full- and part-time employees, including new staffers, were giventwo weeks' pay plus a severance settlement, he said, about $100,000 altogether.

They will be given priority preference for 22 positions available atother Windmill locations. Another 40 food service jobs have also been locatedat other restaurants in the area, he added, and two executives from theScottsdale, Ariz., headquarters have been brought in to assist in placingthe staff.

Windmill Inns now operates seven sites in Oregon, California and Arizona,plus three more under development, Cauvin said.

This will be more like our other locations now, he said.

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