Monday, February 24, 2014

Your Turn

A new restaurant in LA adds a 3% surcharge to every bill to pay for the health insurance of their employees. Is this something you want to pay for or should it be included in their menu prices? What if the charge was for electricity or uniforms?

70 comments:

Count Jerkula said...

Should be included in the price of the menu items. Don't whine to me about the cost of running your business.

dezzie disaster said...

The price of the dish covers that stuff already. Why would you split it specifically into a surcharge instead of just changing the prices?

sandybrook said...

At least they are getting insurance. Where I am, the chains hotels etc. Are only hiring PT help ( maximum 30 hrs/wk) so they dont have to give benefits

Susan said...

Health insurance is such a scam in this country.

Does the state mandate that that's how the restaurants have to do it? As a business owner, I would probably add the fee to the cost of the actual item because people hate taxes and surcharges.

WritergirlinLa said...

Should be included in their menu prices. When you make a statement like that on your menu or check, you're being political and letting everyone know just how political you are. They should include it in the price of the meal and get over it!

surfer said...

Why should diners have to pay for their servers health insurance?

Spiffypaws said...

It should be included in their price. Sounds like they're making a statement about the cost of Obama care. I'm a pastry chef; we wouldn't do that where I work for fear of pissing off some of our clientele.

Lord Disick said...

I practically have to pay for my valet's rent but that doesn't stop me from going out everyday.

MM said...

They already do that in SF, and it bugs me. It should be rolled up in the menu prices.

Susan said...

Oh, I see. One new restaurant is doing this. I don't think others would follow suit with the fee. It sounds like a really stupid idea to me. They should just raise the prices if they want to provide health insurance to employees.

Susan said...

When I'm out on the town, the LAST thing I want to think about is health insurance and Obamacare.

Lady Heisenberg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jonathan Andrew Sheen said...

It's a ham-fisted attempt at social engineering on the part of the restaurateur. He's trying to make his diners feel like the Affordable Care Act is placing a burden on them. It's just another part of the cost of doing business, exactly like power or uniforms or cutlery, but he's making a point of separating it out so his customers will feel hard-done by.

I can find better places to eat that don't try to manipulate me in the voting booth in the process.

Laninna said...

This is done in San Francisco. Some adjust the menu prices and some list the surcharge. I prefer the surcharge and don't include that amount and other tax in the tip. Some restaurants just pocket his extra tax and the employees get shafted.

Karen said...

Such a mistake. Many patrons are already dicks to their servers and don't like extra surcharges. I wonder how many servers at that restaurant are going to get 3% less in tips now.

MISCH said...

menu items…let me know how long they stay in business, that's a very high %

Steampunk Jazz said...

You want to be political, post a notice. " Due to federal regulations via healthcare and small businesses, we are forced to raise our prices 3% Thank you"

Michael H said...

Good god, I would gladly pay an extra 3% on EVERYTHING just to know I was helping people have health coverage.

It's like when Papa John whined that they were going to have to up the price of pizza by 14 cents. WTF, is that all it takes to help people get preventive care and see the dr. outside of an ER? Seems pretty small to me.

lazyday603 said...

What makes it any different than any other business expense? You bake your costs into your prices or you go out of business. This is some fascist restaurant owner playing up on the racist insane reaction on the right to Obamacare. If they called it the Health Insurance Industry Full Employment Act (which is closer to what the law is - insurance industry lobbyists wrote the damn thing) nobody would care. Why are for profit businesses allowed to profit on the sick & dying? The whole thing is obscene. We should have setup a single payer health care system in 1948 when it was first proposed like every other first world country.

The Dude said...

The owners are making a point by breaking it out so that you don't whine about the rise in their prices. They don't want you thinking they are raising their prices just to get more profit.

Lady Heisenberg said...

This is just another way that employers shift costs from themselves onto their clients. Factor that into the prices like everyone else! That's one of the biggest points made by people who argue that mandatory tipping systems should be eliminated altogether, since having these systems shifts responsibilities away from employers. I disagree there but I digress. That being said, if you live in a country where many service workers live off tips and you don't tip, you are screwing the worker over twice because the employer isn't required to pick up that slack. I don't think the issue is what the surcharge pays for, it's whether the client or employer should pay for those costs. However, it sounds a lot better to say, hey you're paying for their health care then for our bills. Is that their argument for why this is a good thing? That these employees would not get these benefits if it were not for the surcharge? And I agree, they're trying to be overtly political & gimmicky with this.

Anothergrayhare said...

I like what JAS said. I think it's stupid. I hate tipping anyway (I always tip 20%). I think the job should be paid like any other at a decent wage that doesn't require tipping. I don't get tipped when I do a great job for my customers. No one ever reports their tips and my sister makes thousands tax free this way. She could use some of that to pay for health care.

Unknown said...

They are doing this to get around not being able to share tips with cook staff (state regulations). They are able to add the 3% to the bill & give that to the cook staff without any tax implications & meet state tip regulations. It is an optional fee - and you can adjust your tip to the server (say 17% in lieu of 20%) - the owners have said the staff is okay with that too - as the intent was to share the tips in a legal manner.

WritergirlinLa said...

There's a tea room I adore near my house but I won't go there any more because they became tea party crazies and think it's cute they own a tea room and post all their tea party BS all over. I come to your restaurant to escape. I don't want to be inflicted with your wacko political musings as I eat and try to unwind.

Wen said...

Obamacare is going to destroy our country.

MISCH said...

sorry my eyes I thought it said 38%

auntliddy said...

Well mark your calenders everyone, i in total agreement with Count!

auntliddy said...

@dude-yeah cause that never happens.

auntliddy said...

J sheen, agree 100%. I seem to be very agree-ey today.

Count Jerkula said...

Rational comments are my gateway drug, Liddy. Next thing you know, you'll be dehumanizing celebs and talking about buttsecks. It is a slippery slope ;)

Henriette said...

This is already done in San Francisco for Covered San Francisco, so it's nothing new to me.

Chris J said...

I agree as well.

Leekalicious said...

Here, the employer pays health-care benefits, but the premiums are deductible on their income tax.

I think it's stupid to put a surcharge like that on a patron's receipt. It must make the patron feel uncomfortable, and the server feel like a beggar. I think if the restaurant owner had ever actually served tables, he or she wouldn't have done that.

Snapdragon said...

"I hate tipping anyway (I always tip 20%). I think the job should be paid like any other at a decent wage that doesn't require tipping." Yes, this. Restaurant owners already get away with paying far less than minimum wage in many states, forcing wait staff to live on the tips (and the generosity of the people they serve).

I'd be willing to pay more to make sure that the people serving my food aren't coming in sick and passing it on to me!

__-__=__ said...

Agree.

Seven of Eleven said...

Yeah, Obamacare - the plan originally introduced by Republicans as the Heritage Plan, renamed Romneycare, then vilified when Obama became President - will totally destroy our country by offering health care to people instead of tax breaks to banks.

@WriterGirl, any business that brings politics (of either side) or religion (of any stripe unless it's directly related to religion, like a kosher deli or a Christian bookstore) gets no business from me. Act professionally and don't alienate customers, it's not that hard.

LowKey said...

^this, Seven, x1000000!

Jay said...

Seven of Eleven said...

Yeah, Obamacare - the plan originally introduced by Republicans as the Heritage Plan,


This is a lie.

renamed Romneycare, then vilified when Obama became President - will totally destroy our country by offering health care to people instead of tax breaks to banks.

This, too, is a lie.

Note: people aren't being offered "health care"

If you don't understand the difference between a medical insurance card and health care treatment, you probably shouldn't be commenting.

Jay said...

Blogger Jonathan Andrew Sheen said...

It's a ham-fisted attempt at social engineering on the part of the restaurateur. He's trying to make his diners feel like the Affordable Care Act is placing a burden on them. It's just another part of the cost of doing business, exactly like power or uniforms or cutlery, but he's making a point of separating it out so his customers will feel hard-done by


Um, cutlery and power are a cost of running a restaurant.

Health insurance?

Not so much.

The ignorance of the comments on this topic, totally depressing.

Seven of Eleven said...

You know what, Jay? You're an unpleasant ass who probably has no friends in real life because you can't talk to people respectfully when you disagree with them. Every time you post here, you're just a rude, snotty, and pretentious prick who is now on my ignore list. Go stick your head in Wendy Davis's armpit.

And it's not a lie.

Topper Madison said...

I think they should just also list the server's wages separately on the list, too.

JSierra said...

Nope, don't like this. I pay for my own insurance so why should I have to pay for yours as well?

Sugar said...

Wow, Jay. What is it like to walk around knowing how smart and educated you are? Do you talk to people like this in real life?

auntliddy said...

Jay, how is paying employees, which includes healthcare, NOT part of resturant costs? Now, that you dont see that, THATS depressing.

D Brown said...

In economic terms a business is an intermediary, which means it passes on increases in it's costs, including government mandates. This may be done directly, by increasing prices to customers, or indirectly by reducing staff hours, portion sizes, quality etc. If politicians increase taxes to pay for something they get defeated for re-election,. If politicans force intermediaries to pay for the same thing the public blames the intermediaries for the higher prices, lower quality etc. It honestly amazes me that 9 out of 10 people I speak to don't understand this simple fact of Bookkeeping 101.

JSierra said...

Sugar nope, only anonymously on an online gossip blog.

Alicia said...

Pointing out to your customers how much you inflate their bill is insulting to the customer. Do you include in the menu description your car payment? Do you note the transaction fee for running credit cards in between the drink list?

Sugar said...

TRUTH, J.
It must hurt his precious head to walk around feeling all superior alla time. We're all a bunch of dummies!

Glitter said...

@ lazyday How is opposing ACA racist? Can't one disagree without being called a racist?

8=====D aka Lil Tool. KermitGosnellKnobJockey said...

The news says that it is a NEW restaurant. Who says that the overall prize is not the one that would be anyway but disclosing what costs the restaurant in order to let the customers now where their money goes, which they usually don't know at all.

Imagine that the original price was 10.3 bucks. After this, the price of the dish is $10 plus the surcharge. All in all the same, but the customer doesn't think that all that money goes to the owner.

I'm OK with the idea.

NomNom83 said...

Trying to gin up some kind of frustration on the parts of your customers is only going to alienate them. I don't care if your rent has gone up, wages increased or the ACA has raised your health insurance -- it is the cost of doing business.

I don't know about anyone else, but I like the thought of food service workers having insurance that is actually worth having. Shit policies -- with high copays or out of pocket costs before it kicks in, are the sort of useless "benefits" that keep sick people from seeing doctors and showing up at work anyway. And, frankly, I would prefer that my salad not come with a side of strep.

Steampunk Jazz said...

Lol@ Lord D

RowdyRodimus said...

@Seven, you know I'm not rude or try to start things on here, but I have to admit I agree with Jay. Yes, people need insurance but the way the law is written is that a person has to have it or they will be forced to pay a fine. However, if their job doesn't offer insurance their employers will have to pay a bigger fine. It should be the persons responsibility to get insurance not the people that pay them to do a service. What's to stop Washington decide that since people need a place to live that the employer is supposed to give them a place to live, too?

Seven of Eleven said...

@Rowdy, I wasn't agreeing or disagreeing with Jay - I was pointing out that the only thing he can say is how stupid everyone is because he doesn't agree with them. He never backed up why he disagrees, just noted how the stupidity of everyone in the comments was soooo very depressing (yet he keeps coming back, apparently depression turns him on).

Jay's smugness aside, if you look at the link I posted in response to Jay, the way the law looks now is very similar to the way the law was initially proposed by the Heritage Foundation. Whether or not you agree with the law itself, acting like Obamacare is a disaster simply because it came under Obama's administration means you're just against it because the Republican party told you it's bad. (I'm not saying YOU believe this, I'm saying that's often the argument used against Obamacare.)


Nov. 23, 1993
(date introduced) Health Equity and Access Reform Today Act (SB 1770) (1.6 MB)
Sponsored by Senator John H. Chafee (R-RI) & 20 cosponsors (2-D, 18-R) "Subtitle F: Universal Coverage - Requires each citizen or lawful permanent resident to be covered under a qualified health plan or equivalent health care program by January 1, 2005. Provides an exception for any individual who is opposed for religious reasons to health plan coverage, including those who rely on healing using spiritual means through prayer alone."

Bessie Smith said...

I wouldn't want to do that. I pay a tip of 15% anyway. They need to take care of their own business. Or as suggested, hike the menu prices. I think I might find a different restaurant. Depends on the food. If I'm crazy about the food, I'd just make allowances and go anyway. Otherwise, no.

Jason Blue Eyes said...

It was awesome of @Jay to pop in and claim statements made here are all lies, without providing any proof or examples. Saying something is a lie doesn't make it so.

And Seven is right.

It's sort of like how a certain party were all for the NSA as well, until they decided they weren't.

Rowdy, it's not that Jay disagreed with Seven. We all welcome debate here most of the time. It was the snotty, condescending way in which he did it. If the comments here depress him, okay - fuck him. Let him be depressed. No hair off our heads.

I'm Ok with the extra 3% tax. Nobody's gonna call me a Mr. Pink.

Sherry said...


You wouldn't break down on your bill how much of that cost for the appetizer or entree food was specifically or how much went to your electricity. Why would one do it on a restaurant tab? It seems odd and a good way to alienate the customer. If it's not a legal requirement then there seems to be another agenda with this.

Leekalicious said...

I know a lot of people disagree with Obamacare, but what does a country do when a significant portion of the population can't afford basic healthcare or premiums? Is a person expected to die because they can't afford hundreds of dollars for medical treatment? What the hell sort of country lets that happen to its citizens? Rent and/or mortgages didn't used to cost 80 percent of one's income.

Count Jerkula said...

@Leek: It is a band aid on a bullet wound. They should have just gone to a single payer system. Then if people want and can afford a better package, they can pay for it themselves.

Personally, I haven't had health insurance in almost 15 years, and I'm not getting it under Obamacare. 1% penalty is a heck of a lot less than the monthly premiums.

Lady Heisenberg said...

@Jay: If you are going to attack logical, thoroughly thought out and factually supported claims; and especially if you plan on branding a fellow CDANer as a liar, please do so in an acceptable manner. Copy/pasting someone else's claims and writing "lies," without anything to support your claims just makes you look like a hater. I don't know you and maybe you had something compelling to add to the discourse, but you lost your credibility by resorting to name calling for no reason. Good day to you too, sir!

Lady Heisenberg said...

@Rowdy. There's ways to appropriately disagree with people on here & you obviously know that, because you did that perfectly.

This is a place to come talk shit about Celebs & heckle Enty, not to needlessly start shit with other CDANers. Speaking of which, where is Derek? He didn't stop by today :(

rikkitikkitavi said...

@eNTY please tell me this isnt cafe gratitude youre calling out again? try the kelp noodle pesto! its so good.

rikkitikkitavi said...

@lady heisenberg is it that special time of the month? you are policing this ish! you on the payroll??? LOL
#REGULATORSMOUNTUP

rikkitikkitavi said...

#thisiscdanmotherfuckers!

tc said...

Bill Chait's restaurants are the toast of the town right now. What he and Walter are doing is a good thing. Closing the gap between the front and back of the house. These owner operator chefs are getting rich running a lone restaurant. You want equality in the workplace, and talent in the kitchen where cooks can actually afford to live in the cities they work on then pay for it. Lots of the people who whine about this shit are the same people who were so excited for the ahca

tc said...

Are not getting rich. My bad

Lady Heisenberg said...

Not sure what you're getting at here.

elspeth said...

The bad news is that doctors are pretty damn smart. They [and I've talked to MDs and their wives] won't take new patients primarily because they've got the 'new' insurance which doesn't pay a high percentage of charges.

They won't take existing patients who have Medicaid/Medicare unless they're willing to pay the higher charges in cash. The cost of elective procedures is already going through the roof.

I had Lasik surgery a couple of years ago at the same time I had cataract surgery; there was an additional $500 charge that I paid out of pocket. A friend now needs cataract surgery [paid for by insurance] but must pay $6,000 for the same [elective] Lasik surgery. The doctor/hospital is recouping the diminished insurance repayment by upping the direct cost to the patient for the desired but elective surgery.

The US healthcare system will evolve into the British system: People who can afford it will go to private doctors; people with government mandated insurance will go to a limited number of quacks and be put on long waiting lists for procedures.

Henriette said...

I'm sick of the pretentiousness of the U.S. pretending as if it cares about its citizens. The U.S. will probably go the way of China, if you have money, you live, if you don't, you die. Soon no one will be able to pay for healthcare anyway.

Eros said...

God people are so dumb. Why advertise that is why you are increasing the charge. The smart thing to do is to do like this health food restaurant I frequent. They raised their cost due to inflation across the board. Publicizing you are raising costs due to health care reflect badly on your establishment. Dumbdumbdumb