Blog PostMarch 3, 2014

A Side of ACA with your Entree?

Restaurants add ACA "Surcharge" to customer bills

It now costs more to dine out at several restaurants in Florida as well as a popular Los Angeles eatery.

Not because of increased food costs. Not because of a hike in energy or utility prices. Not because property taxes have gone up.

It’s to help pay for the Affordable Care Act.

When you eat at some Gator’s Dockside restaurants in Florida, you’ll see a one percent surcharge right on your bill – roughly 20 cents for every $20 tab:

This particular Gator’s Dockside franchise has eight restaurants and 500 employees – half of whom work full time and only management gets health benefits. But starting next year, under the ACA’s employer mandate, the company has to offer its full time workers health coverage or pay a fine of $2,000 per employee…per year.

Company officials estimate that it will cost $500,000 to provide health benefits to workers, and they need to figure out how to pay for it. Some options might include raising menu prices or cutting workers’ hours or jobs. In this case, the company added a “surcharge” to each bill.

This surcharge option was also deemed least harmful for LA’s Republique restaurant, which adds three percent onto its customers’ bills. Says the owner, “Even if this isn’t the perfect solution, it’s definitely a solution, and so far, there isn’t any other solution.”

Unfortunately, the Affordable Care Act in its present form will force the same dilemma upon thousands of businesses and employees just like the one faced by these restaurants. And in the end, we all pay.