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Restaurant serves Obamacare surcharge

By Crissinda Ponder ·
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Posted: 4 pm ET

If you plan on visiting Florida and eating at a certain restaurant chain, you might find something odd on your receipt.

A few Gator's Dockside locations have added a 1 percent "ACA surcharge" to diners' tabs, according to CNNMoney. That's ACA, as in Affordable Care Act, as in "Obamacare."

The extra charge is no surprise to patrons when they're paying for meals -- there are signs posted on the door and at tables that read:

The costs associated with ACA compliance could ultimately close our doors. 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 percent surcharge on all food and beverage purchases only.

Why the surcharge?

By "ACA compliance," Gator's Dockside may be referring to Obamacare's "employer mandate," which requires employers with 50 or more full-time employees to offer health insurance coverage or face a penalty. However, the mandate doesn't take effect until next year.

Large employers with 100 or more full-timers will have to provide coverage to 70 percent of their employees in 2015. That amount increases to 95 percent in 2016 and the years that follow, according to the latest Obamacare tweak.

According to reports, eight of the 21 Gator's Dockside locations across Florida have implemented the Obamacare surcharge. About half of the 500 employees at those restaurants work full time. Currently, only managers have health insurance; other full-timers will gain it in December, at an estimated cost of $500,000 per year.

Pressing need -- or political stunt?

"I'm just trying to keep the employees I have that I've worked hard to train," Sandra Clark, director of operations for Gator's Dockside Group Inc., told CNNMoney. She said the added charge for diners will guarantee that the company can keep providing full-time hours for so many employees.

Orlando, Fla.-based economic consultant Hank Fishkind scoffs at the surcharge. "It's clearly political," he told Reuters.

What are your thoughts? Is this a company publicity stunt? Do you believe that other restaurant chains will impose a similar Obamacare fee on customers?

Follow me on Twitter: @CrissiPonder.

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March 13, 2014 at 5:35 pm


March 13, 2014 at 9:28 am

As a small business owner, my prices are set on a basis of my expenses. SO I could add surcharges for Insurance, Taxes, Rent, Utilities, etc. I just wrap it all into the total price YOU pay as my customer. Obamacare is another expense that my business won't pay - my customers will, or my employees in lost wages to keep my profit margins in line allowing me to keep my doors open and sell my product at a competitive price. Why basic economic principles are not taught and understood is beyond me. If money goes to the government - the average consumer pays for it - period.

March 13, 2014 at 1:52 am

Sue Hosterman….

What are you saying!

You sound like a typical republican spewing lies

March 13, 2014 at 1:50 am

How totally stupid. How absurd. I have heard about the people in Florida but I cant say here. Now this proves what I have heart. It is NOT good.I
would never frequent that restaurant. NEVER! Pulling a stunt like this. the owner (s) should either be fined or thrown in jail

March 12, 2014 at 8:34 am

"About half of the 500 employees at those restaurants work full time. Currently, only managers have health insurance."

There's the crux of the problem. Ownership doesn't like the idea of taking care of their employees. Now that the government is compelling them to do what they should have done all along, they don't like it. So they raise prices and try to blame it on Obamacare. It's disingenuous and hypocritical.

sue hosterman
March 11, 2014 at 10:12 pm

Just who do you people think is going to pay for other peoples health care? All of us who pay taxes isn't FREE and it doesn't matter how they add the cost to the bill, it has to come from somewhere.

March 11, 2014 at 8:29 pm

Loser rednecks. Interesting that not a single, solitary restaurant in the MAJOR city that I live in is having to pull such a stunt. Time for these losers to wither on the vine.

March 11, 2014 at 3:01 pm

Aren't people tired of all the idiots out there continually disrespecting them like they have sh** for brains. I would tell them to take their surcharge and choke on it.

March 11, 2014 at 9:59 am

So if the restaurant is charging diners to cover costs that won't kick in until next year, it's neither a cost of doing business or a political stunt. It's theft.

March 10, 2014 at 7:23 pm

So why not a surcharge for the dishwashers salary or for workmans comp insurance? The reason is those AND the ACA costs are all costs of doing business. This is clearly a political stunt that may work in Floriduh but I would never patronize the place. First off, as the article stated, the ACA required mandate does not go into effect until a year from now and you are going to start charging today?