Health

Texas Restaurant Group Under Fire For Affordable Care Act Surcharge On Customer Bills

| by Dominic Kelly
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After reports that a restaurant group in Texas was charging a surcharge to cover the costs of the Affordable Care Act, the group decided to drop the fee from customers’ bills.

Howard Restaurant Group in Lubbock, Texas, decided that in order to cover the increased costs they faced due to the Affordable Care Act, they needed to charge customers a two percent surcharge.

“Due to the Affordable Healthcare Act and its requirement of healthcare coverage to all full-time employees, our restaurant group has decided instead of cutting employee hours and raising food and beverage prices, to implement a two percent surcharge on all guest checks to offset the cost of the federally mandated employee healthcare with the least possible impact to the consumer,” Samantha Spitzer, director of marketing for Howard Restaurant Group, said in a statement.

After word spread of their decision, locals in the community expressed that they did not agree with what the restaurant group was doing.

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“With me and my husband and our babies, ranging from four to six months, we pay $900 a month in insurance and nobody helps us pay that,” local resident Angela Anderson said. “So I don't understand why we're having to pay for everyone else's.”

Eddy McBride, Lubbock Chamber of Commerce President, said that many local business owners have felt the effects of the Affordable Care Act.

“Obamacare has been a difficult insurance program for most businesses,” McBridge said. “We realize the burden that has been placed on owners to both understand as well as figure out the economic impact on their business and their employees. As more and more costs are uncovered, business owners will have to determine ways to cover these increases in the cost of doing business.”

Just one day after word spread about the restaurant group’s surcharge, the chain announced they were dropping it from customers’ bills at their restaurants.

“The health care surcharge at our franchised Buffalo Wild Wings in Lubbock, TX has been removed,” Heather Leiferman, Director of Public Relations, said in a statement. “We regret any inconvenience this may have caused. Our priority is to always provide our guests a great experience every day so they can enjoy our wings, beer and sports.”

Sources: KCBD, KFYO / Photo Source: KCBD, KFYO