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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 10, 2014 at 11:29 am

If it's posted clearly, I just wouldn't patronize the place. If it's "in the fine print", I would short the bill, still tip for good service (its managements fault, not the employees), but I wouldn't be back. After they get torched on social media and are about to go under, I suspect they may get the message. Dangerous plan putting your business out there though. You never know, this might turn out well for them. NOW, all the liberals that so freely want to give their hard earned $$ to the govt will have a place to go and openly discuss how wonderful it is. haha.

March 08, 2014 at 6:02 am

I think paying for others healthcare is stupid, how pay's for my healthcare, I do. the next thing you well be asking to SURCHARGE for there tax's , a surcharge for there home ins, surcharge for there home heating, surcharge for there surcharge's (should I keep going) or do you get the point .

Ed Leach
March 08, 2014 at 4:16 am

Mary, I agree with you. My out of pocket cost for me and my wife went from 0 to $3,000.00 dollars thanks to Obama care and I sure don't want to pay for someone else.

March 08, 2014 at 4:02 am

Political Stunt. We will not raise prices but we will include a surcharge…WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE???? Also, it will be very interesting to see the impact in say a year from now….will he go out of business for raising his prices 1%? Will he layoff workers anyway because he the real reason is he doesn't want to participate in the ACA? Just a politics stunt….

March 08, 2014 at 3:27 am

Will not pay for others healthcare. I do it already with social security I will never get to use and my taxes going to welfare.

I will eat at home more.

Cut hours whatever I really don't care.

March 08, 2014 at 2:43 am

Why does the "economic consultant", Mr. Fishkind, scoff at the surcharge? On what grounds? Does he own a business? Has he tried keeping up with the rising costs of keeping people employed, and getting them healthcare? It is not easy. Has he ever tried competing in the restaurant business? It would be interesting to know what real-world experience he has with this.

March 08, 2014 at 2:34 am

I will refuse (Boycott) any restaurant that adds this to my bill!

March 08, 2014 at 2:07 am

I agree the 1% is a reasonable thing to do. We all know there is little wage for the servers etc and that many leave without giving any tip out of habit, a selfish habit. We are all in this together and this is one way to help a business keep healthier workers and help families too. OBAMACARE has arrived and is what has been needed forever by the uninsured and underinsured. Yeah, yeah Obama is's that black skin! You know, the one your Momma and Daddy taught you to be afraid of! Too bad, so sad for you. Would you rather his mind be wasted on, say, cleaning your pool?!?

March 08, 2014 at 1:52 am

I think its a smart move on the employers part to think ahead. I would be willing to pay the additional 1% tacked on my tab at any restaurant. I do believe that this cost should be put into a special health plan account and monitored by an independent accounting firm. I can think of a few greedy businesses that would charge then pocket the money as profit. Anything that provides health care to all the people of this country is worth the additional 1% we pay. Healthy workers are happy workers who keep showing up everyday and deserve this benefit.

Mary Smith
March 08, 2014 at 1:10 am

I've never read more stupid comments! Get rid of Obama! Get rid of his ridiculous, so-called health-care plan! He is a very scary individual! Oh, and please don't get me going about Hillary, or Cadillac Deval (Patrick)....OMG! Can you people read or do you just listen to liberal news media