And so it has come to this: a new business model--customer financed spite.
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.'"
I guarantee you, as small as the surcharge is, if I read that sign, I'd be hightailing it to another restaurant and letting the owners at Gator's know why. Servers are already paid below minimum wage with customers expected to make up the difference by tipping, (which I do, and generously.), so I'm already subsidizing every restaurant owner whose business I visit. Even with that, many full time servers end up needing additional government assistance to get by--assistance which I also provide through my tax dollars.
If--better yet "when"--the minimum wage gets raised, will Gator's Dockside owners add another surcharge? Am I a customer or a bank?"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."
I hope these owners don't hurt themselves while reaching to pat themselves on the back. And I have to wonder, if the surcharge has nothing to do with the ACA, then why announce it so obviously?
When business costs go up and can no longer be absorbed, end prices are raised to reflect that. Consumers accept this reality. Both these restaurant owners could have simply added 1% or 3% to their food prices and quietly financed their employee's benefit package without a public announcement and it's doubtful anyone would have noticed. Instead they chose an in-your-face approach that says "We hate the ACA and we want you to know you're paying for it." The only thing missing is a picture of a waggling tongue above the text "Nyaaa Nyaaa Nyaaa!"