Now on your restaurant bill: Obamacare fee

obamacare surchargeCNN Money – by Tami Luhby 

Several restaurants in a Florida chain are asking customers to help foot the bill for Obamacare.

Diners at eight Gator’s Dockside casual eateries are finding a 1% Affordable Care Act surcharge on their tabs, which comes to 15 cents on a typical $15 lunch tab. Signs on the door and at tables alert diners to the fee, which is also listed separately on the bill.  

The Gator Group’s full-time hourly employees won’t actually receive health insurance until December. But the company said it implemented the surcharge now because of the compliance costs it’s facing ahead of the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate kicking in in 2015.

“The costs associated with ACA compliance could ultimately close our doors,” the sign reads. “Instead of raising prices on our products to generate the additional revenue needed to cover the costs of ACA compliance, certain Gator’s Dockside locations have implemented a 1% surcharge on all food and beverage purchases only.”

The company employs a total of 500 people, with about half working full-time. Currently only management receives health benefits, but the restaurant will have to offer coverage to all full-timers once the mandate takes effect. The fee will allow the company to continue offering full-time hours to many workers, according to Sandra Clark, the group’s director of operations.

“I’m just trying to keep the employees I have that I’ve worked hard to train,” Clark said.

In addition to the costs of providing health care, the company hired one additional staffer and a consulting firm to make sure it is complying with the law and to assist in the additional tracking of workers’ hours and wages required by Obamacare, said Clark.

Clark is not sure how much the company is spending on compliance, but estimates that it will cost $500,000 a year to extend insurance to its full-time hourly restaurant workers. The surcharge may bring in about $160,000 a year, she hopes.

Thirteen other Gator’s Dockside restaurants, which are run by a different firm and its franchisees, are not implementing the fee.

Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, an upscale restaurant is also asking guests to pony up for its employee health care costs.

Since it opened in November, Republique’s tab comes with an optional 3% surcharge that allows it to employ all of its 80 workers full-time and provide them with health insurance. The fee is explained in a sign and on the menu, and servers explain it to diners without prompting.

The surcharge is not related to Obamacare, a restaurant spokeswoman said. The eatery is not subject to the employer mandate until 2016 because it has fewer than 100 workers, but it already offers coverage to its staff.

How are customers reacting to the fee? So far, most people are paying it, she said. To top of page

11 thoughts on “Now on your restaurant bill: Obamacare fee

  1. Man-o-man, do they got a lot of nerve asking to donate to obamacare like that.
    This obamacare crap is starting to look like some sick game to me.

    1. digger, I bet you don’t mean that. I’m sure you have known all along that this is a sick game. But hopefully it is starting to look that way to everyone else now… or maybe except for those who can still afford to eat out at restaurants. I don’t know, is it better to raise the food prices and not say why, or is it better to put an ACA “optional” surcharge at the bottom of the bill so everyone knows the reason?

      1. Naw EE, I am not sayin` that they should raise their prices at all. I am just sayin` that they have a lot of nerve to even ask customers to donate to obamacare.
        These restauraunt maybe should have a obamacare donation jar on the counter or something like that.
        I think that obamacare is criminal in fact, and I think that obamacare is ruining these businesses like restaurants – especially the small ones.
        Yes, I was head cook at a small restaurant for a few years – got paid very little, got no tips at all, but I loved my job all the same and I would still be there if they didn`t go out of business. In fact the waitresses were paid way more than I was considering their tips.
        Yes I loved that job and the customers really liked me too. Ya see it was the customers that made my day and that is why I liked my job.

        1. yep, I know exactly what you are saying and I agree. That’s too bad that restaurant went out of business. Jobs that make you glad to go to work are the only kind of jobs to have. 🙂 You don’t have to make a lot of money to be happy in this world, but also life doesn’t work well if people are extorted out of whatever little money they have left. All we need is enough for some basics, and we are OK. Things are cut to the bone now for so many. So, what — we choose between Obamacare and feeding ourselves/our families? I don’t think so.
          Obamacare is such an insanely idiotic program (Ok, criminal) and the more PR work and donation requests that are happening to “support” it and don’t even get me started with “brosurance” another example of how out of touch they are — the propaganda falls flat and they have to scrap it. You know they have a real lemon on their hands. I’ve known this from the start, like lots of folks have, but it happened anyway. I wonder what percentage of folks do actually support Obamacare. I wonder why it hasn’t been in the “news” much lately…

      2. Actually EE yes you are right on that – bad wording on my part when I said “is starting to look like sick game to me” . Yes that was a dumb statement by me to be sure. It has always been a joke from the very get go to me.

        Thanks for calling me one that EE 😉 . That was a good call EE. thanks for the heads up EE

        1. oh yes, what a joke it has been! and the surcharges are definitely a slick and sick game. try to get our money, by any means necessary. Meanwhile, true wellness is not a part of this program or plan. From the get go.

  2. I would not go to any restaurant that charges a fee for an illegal, unconstitutional law. The Affordable Healthcare Act needs to be repealed, unfortunately, I am of the belief that this country is corrupted beyond any ballot box cure. The Republic must be restored and the psychopaths in charge must be tried for their treason.

  3. What a joke. As always, instead of fighting the government, the businesses decide to pass the ball onto the customers. Cowards!

    1. Yes they are NC. If they have to do anything they could insult obamacare and put up a obamacare jar by the cash register and I bet at most that if anything there will only be pennies if even that in it. 😉

      1. Hell Digger. wish they would put a jar on the counter . id be glad to donate some monopoly money. Might even leave a nice note. 🙂

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