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Restaurant serves Obamacare surcharge

By Crissinda Ponder · Bankrate.com
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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240 Comments
George
March 08, 2014 at 12:20 am

I have never been to any of the establishments but if I did, I would not have a problem paying the extra 1%. I would rather see these hard working, mostly under appreciated fine working employees having health benefits. What is 1%. That's nothing. Even on a $100 bill, that is 1 dollar. I would encourage all companies to do this. As long as it goes for benefits for the employees, that is fine with me. The company didn't ask for the ACA to be dumped on them, stuff happens, and they have dealt with it accordingly. Good for the company and the employees who will get health care.

mimi
March 07, 2014 at 11:56 pm

We are the only western nation that can;t figure out how to provice health insurance for our citizens. The ACA is a start. National Health Insurance would be better. After all our senior citizens have national health care and are living longer and healthier lives.
I would not patronize that restaurant.

Frank
March 07, 2014 at 11:52 pm

It's the kinda thing the backwater boys would do to punish the majority who support ACA. They don't get it that they'er gonna pay one way or the other. Who do they think pays when a family gets its medical care at the emergency room for quadrople the price. Oh well penny wise and dollar foolish.

Dix
March 07, 2014 at 11:48 pm

Managers already are receiving health-care benefits and you are not offering your other employees the same. Shame on you, Fat Cat. Without hardworking cooks, dishwashers, prep-cooks, and people friendly servers/hosts there would be no business.

Stephen
March 07, 2014 at 11:34 pm

Definitely a political ploy. They can charge whatever they want because I will Never eat there again, even if they stop the bogus 1% charge! It's too bad they can't do the right thing for their employees with out making the public pay for it. Frankly, it wasn't that good of a restaurant anyway.

Ed
March 07, 2014 at 11:10 pm

Total BS. What a scumbag that owns this restaurant 'chain.'

So, he (and I guarantee you it is a 'he' as no businesswoman would be this stupid) is saying that a 1% decrease in gross profit would put him out of business. Absolute nonsense. This is a right-wingnut stunt, pure and simple.

Chrissy
March 07, 2014 at 11:06 pm

The business has clearly posted that they are charging customers the extra to cover this cost. They could have just raised their prices. I think it is okay. What I don't like about Obamacare is paying more for something that I don't use very often. I don't go to the docotor very often. Hopefully there will be more education to help people be healthier and not drain our healthcare system.

EDWARD
March 07, 2014 at 10:51 pm

NOTHING AT ALL WRONG WITH ACA. THE COUNTRY NEEDS IT, JUST LIKE THEY NEEDED SOCIAL SECURITY. INDIVIDUALLY, THERE ARE MANY THINGS WE MUST HAVE AND CANNOT DO FOR OURSELVES, SO WE PAY FOR THEM COLLECTIVELY. OF COURSE IT IS NOT THE SAME DOLLAR AMOUNT FOR EVERYONE, BUT IT IS TILTED SO THAT THE ONES WHO GET THE MOST BENEFITS WILL PAY MORE THAN THOSE WHO DON'T GET AS MUCH. WE CAN SEE THAT EVERYWHERE. IT IS STILL UNBALANCED IN FAVOR OF THOSE WHO HAVE MORE - THEY STILL GET MORE, ALLWAYS HAVE, AND ALWAYS WILL.

BESIDES, WHO USES THOSE NEW HIGHWAYS TO THE PRICEY SUBURBS, WHO CAN AFFORD TICKETS TO THE VIKINGS NEW STADIUM OR THE TWINS NEW BALLPARK,WHERE ARE ALL THE NEW SCHOOLS BUILT, WHO CAN AFFORD TO GO TO MAYO -- I COULD GO ON AND ON. BUT, TO TOP IT ALL OFF, THE POOR MAN'S BASEBALL TEAM, THE SAINTS, IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE TO MOST OF THOSE WHO GET THE "FREE" ACA.

LET THEM EAT CAKE?

mary
March 07, 2014 at 10:42 pm

getting away for long enough not getting your employees health care,and then charging the public to help pay for your expense.I am looking up what this company is worth and their profit.So pathetic.

Steve
March 07, 2014 at 10:40 pm

What are you fools thinking. It's bad enough rich restaurant chains don't pay there employees enough that they count on tips to earn a living. But did you know that if a server gets stiffed on a bill lot's of companies charge there employees for the bill. In Europe they don't believe in tipping, the restaurant pays there employees. So you idiots keep on filling the big companies pockets. If I do go out to eat I tip generously. It's not the servers fault of that our system feeds the fat cat. Wake up America!!!! Most don't give health care anyway.

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