Not only are more locations than originally reported charging a fee for the Affordable Care Act, but it turns out that some Gator’s Dockside locations are just fleecing customers for a fee that does not exist yet!
Eight locations of Gator’s Dockside in Florida have elected to, as they claim, offset fees they are paying for the Affordable Care Act by charging customers a 1% surcharge that allegedly will pay for employees’ insurance. Restaurant management claims that the 1% surcharge, for which announcements are posted on doors, at tables, and even in bathrooms but it totally not a political statement, will offset the costs of the insurance they provide to employees.
While many don’t mind paying a little extra to take care of employees’ health needs, there are some problems. First, the “fee” that the restaurant is “covering” with the “ACA surcharge” doesn’t actually go into effect until next year. Currently, customers are paying extra for something that doesn’t exist.
The other hitch is that, as of right now, the restaurant only provides insurance to management, despite owners’ lamentations that they “have” to charge the fee to cover 70% of their employees’ insurance. Once the employer mandate kicks in next year, the chain will have to offer insurance to all of its full-time employees (about half).
Thirteen Gator’s Dockside locations will not be adding the fee, or raising prices, to offset the added cost of the employer mandate. “There are 13 of the 21 total restaurants that do not charge the surcharge,” Joe Foranoce, Jr., Director of Operations for Gator’s Dockside said in an email to the Orlando Sentinel. “And we believe it is the cost of doing business and chose not to pass this cost on to our guest in the form of a surcharge.”
We’re curious why the chain would choose to charge customers an incredibly deceptive fee for something that does not exist yet, to insure employees that they are not actually insuring. It seems, though they claim otherwise, that the owners of those eight locations are simply trying to send a political message. So far, the Obamacare fee only serves to line Gator’s Dockside’s coffers while stirring up anger among customers–something that has a negative impact on servers.
Chayse Neal, the General Manager of the Clermont location confirmed that there are “rumors” of customers withholding tips from servers because of the surcharge that supposedly exists to help employees.