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Jan 14, 2011 06:50 AM

$1.50 per person surcharge for Healthcare added to your bill....WHAT?!?!

I just saw this on the bottom of a menu in SF..
Your thoughts?

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    1. This has been going on for two or three years I believe.

      1. I think it would give me a heart attack.

        1. I'm a retired senior citizen living on a fixed income. It's all I can do to pay for my own med coverage. I'll be damned if I'm gonna shell out for someone else's.

          19 Replies
          1. re: mucho gordo

            I understand the immediate reaction that someone is passing off their healthcare charges onto you, but anytime you purchase something from a company that provides its employees with medical insurance you are helping pay for it.

            This restaurant could have raised prices by $0.75 an item and probably achieved the same thing. Instead they are making a statement that they provide healthcare to their employees - which in my opinion is a good thing. If it were my restaurant I'd just slightly increase prices across the board to cover it, but I don't think this is something horrible.

            1. re: joshekg

              Agree with everything you wrote. Plus those without health insurance can be a huge drain on an economy sending taxes ever higher. I've seen it listed and not. I DO think it makes a good statement esp. in an industry that hasn't been known for having much in the way of benefits for their employees. And, yes, everything we buy has those hidden costs. I can't remember how many tens of millions of dollars our former employer pays every year for insurance for employees and retirees.

              1. re: c oliver

                Agreed, joshekg and c oliver. And thank you.

                1. re: c oliver

                  I don't think a restaurant needs to "publicize" that it is charging higher prices (or a surcharge) for specific employee benefits.

                  What's next?

                  "Surcharge of 1% for extended employee bathroom breaks"?

                  "Please tip at least 25% to provide for maternity/paternity leave"?

                  If a restaurant wants to be a good citizen and provide full benefits, just do it.

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    Why stop at employee benefits? In for a penny, in for a pound. I'd like to know how much of the cost of my tuna melt goes toward hiring an exterminator, for instance.

                    1. re: ipsedixit


                      Just be a good employer and take care of your employees.

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        agree completely. The "surcharge" is nothing more than a self-congratulatory PR piece. Maybe they didn't want to cough up money to change the prices on the menu, which is just chintzy.

                      2. re: joshekg

                        I would not object to a price increase; just spare me the p c hype.

                        1. re: mucho gordo

                          agreed. If I saw this on the menu it would be the last time.

                          1. re: mucho gordo

                            I don't see it as "p c hype"; to the contrary, I see it as a quiet protest against public policy. The restaurant owners are pointing out that they didn't have to pay for health insurance, you wouldn't be saddled with the surcharge.

                            @Firegoat - if you refused to eat in a place that had this on the menu, your dining options in San Francisco would be limited.

                            1. re: alanbarnes

                              If their rent went up or suppliers charged them more they would quietly raise the menu price w/out calling attention to the reason. The health care issue is a hot item and they're milking it for all it's worth.

                              1. re: mucho gordo

                                Health insurance is definitely a hot issue, and many restaurant owners in SF are unhappy about being forced to buy it for their employees. I won't presume to speak for all of them, but some have expressly stated that their displeasure with the mandate is the reason they're calling attention to it with a separate charge on the menu.

                                1. re: alanbarnes

                                  Even with the "surcharge" the health care mandate in SF will inevitably drive alot of the owners of restaurants out of the industry. It's too bad.

                                  It's not just the cost of providing (or subsidizing) health care insurance that's necessarily so onerous, but all the peripheral stuff that comes along with it -- like medical leave, compliance with COBRA and ERISA, for example.

                              2. re: alanbarnes

                                I see it as a noisy protest, in a state that is a ticking time bomb facing imminent bankrupcy with a $17 billion annual deficit. Soon, only your $120,000 a year prison guards with 85 IQ's will be able to afford to eat out. It is the wrong way and the wrong place to protest.

                                1. re: Veggo

                                  Veg, I'm not sure I understand what you're saying. That the requirement to pay for health insurance is fine but the protest isn't? SFers love to protest, ya know :)

                                  1. re: Veggo

                                    There are no prisons in SF. The Healthy San Francisco program is local; the problem with the correctional system is state-wide. Protest locally, go bankrupt globally, I guess...

                              3. re: mucho gordo

                                You mean as supplemental coverage mucho gordo, no? As a senior, you are covered by Medicare (for the first 28 days) and then Medicaid (if you qualify) for any long term care needs after 28 days.

                              4. Typical of industry these days to add business expenses as add-on fees rather than including them in the up-front price of the item or service being sold.