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Ear to the Ground

Restaurant Owner Plans to Charge Customers for Obamacare

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Posted on Nov 15, 2012
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Some business owners have already said in the wake of President Obama’s election victory that they’ll have to lay off employees and cut worker hours in order to pay for Obamacare. But John Metz, a West Palm Beach, Fla., restaurant owner, has another idea: He’s having his customers pay a 5 percent surcharge to offset what he says are increased costs because of the health care program. That, by the way, is in addition to cutting his employees’ hours.

“If I leave the prices the same, but say on the menu that there is a 5 percent surcharge for Obamacare, customers have two choices. They can either pay it and tip 15 or 20 percent, or if they really feel so inclined, they can reduce the amount of tip they give to the server, who is the primary beneficiary of Obamacare,” he explained to The Huffington Post. “Although it may sound terrible that I’m doing this, it’s the only alternative. I’ve got to pass the cost on to the consumer.”

Metz is the owner of a company that runs roughly 40 Denny’s restaurants and several Dairy Queens. He’s also a franchisor for Hurricane Grill & Wings.

The Huffington Post:

Metz said he will hold meetings at all his restaurants starting in December to discuss the surcharge and to tell employees “that because of Obamacare, we are going to be cutting front-of-the-house employees to under 30 hours, effective immediately.”

Metz said he hopes the post-election meetings will inspire employees rather than alienate them. “What we’re going to ask them to do is to speak to their elected officials, to try to convey what this means in terms of their jobs and their livelihoods,” Metz said.

Metz said he understands the problems that will create not just for his scheduling but for his employees. “I think it’s a terrible thing. It’s ridiculous that the maximum hours we can give people is 28 hours a week instead of 40,” Metz said. “It’s going to force my employees to go out and get a second job.”

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—Posted by Tracy Bloom.

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