Gator Group, which operates eight locations of Gator’s Dockside, a popular sports bar chain in central Florida, has begun charging its customers a one percent “ACA surcharge,” to offset the cost of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.
The restaurant chain is apparently protesting an employer mandate that will require the Gator Group to provide health insurance coverage for 70 percent of its full-time employees.
“The owner opted to do this so the customer can see the cost increase themselves,” Chayse Nail, a general manager told The Huffington Post. “If we added it to food costs, you’d be paying more on your food and sales taxes... it's not something we're doing to generate more profit.”
As of now, the only employees who have healthcare coverage are the restaurant’s managers.
Although Nail says that most customers are indifferent, he countered, “…some people say we’re geniuses; that it’s the smartest thing they’ve ever seen.”
The public response on the group’s Facebook page suggests otherwise.
"Plenty of places sell wings and burgers and don't try to make political statements,” wrote one former customer. “I'll be taking my business to one of those restaurants from now on."
“I’m outta here,” wrote another. “Hope your customers are too,”
Thirteen additional locations of Gator’s Dockside in Florida are owned by different operators than Gator Group, and have not implemented the same surcharge.
Karen Lo is an associate editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @appleplexy.