Restaurant Chain Adds Surcharge for ObamaCare
Gator's Dockside in Florida charges customers an extra 1%
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Feb 27, 2014 5:33 PM CST
An image of a receipt with the ObamaCare surcharge.   (Gator's Dockside via CNN)

(Newser) – An otherwise nondescript restaurant chain in Florida is suddenly national news thanks to a new policy: Gator's Dockside has added a 1% surcharge to cover the costs of the Affordable Care Act, reports CNN Money. Participating restaurants aren't trying to hide it, either. "The costs associated with ACA compliance could ultimately close our doors," reads a sign to patrons. "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." An executive with the chain estimates that it will cost $500,000 a year to provide all its workers with insurance when the employer mandate kicks in next year, and she figures the surcharge will bring in about $160,000 annually.

  • Dumb move: "Obviously, the restaurateur is thinking about this from the perspective of an angry talk-radio-listening Republican rather than that of a hard-headed capitalist," writes Jonathan Chait at the Daily Intelligencer. "There are costs associated with all kinds of government regulations and spending, but he’s not creating a line item on his tab to highlight his share of, say, financing the Department of Defense."
  • Smart move: "As the surcharge shows, Obamacare is no free lunch," writes Katrina Trinko at the Heritage Foundation. "Most businesses probably won’t opt to add a specific surcharge in order to cover their new health care costs, but some will certainly raise prices—or reduce quality of their products. Obamacare hasn’t driven down the costs of health insurance, or found a magical new source to cover those costs."
  • Similar move: Eater notes that a popular Los Angeles restaurant, Republique, asks diners to pay a 3% surcharge for employee health care costs. The restaurant makes it optional, however, and says it is not specifically tied to the new law's mandates.

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Your Take
39% of people agree
that it's Brilliant
Check Out Another Brilliant Story
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 370 comments
Mar 3, 2014 8:48 PM CST
Finally ... an honest cause and effect example.
Mar 2, 2014 9:21 AM CST
Transparency in billing ! Hurray !!!!!! I wish the US gov. would start doing it.
Mar 1, 2014 10:57 PM CST
That's cool by me. Honestly, I think it would be interesting to have an itemized tax list reminding everyone how much they are paying for each of the things they get every time they sign a receipt. Like an indicated 2.4% tax for the military (out of a 8% total sales tax), representing the 30% of all taxes that go to the military. I have found a number of other sites that say 50-55% go to the military, but I cannot find a valid source for these numbers.