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Thursday, Apr 19, 2018
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The Right Stuff: Restaurant surcharge jabs Obamacare

Well, now, this is fascinating. Saying they need to help defray new costs generated by complying with the Affordable Care Act, owners of 10 Gator’s Dockside restaurants in Lake County, Lakeland and Jacksonville have started tacking a 1 percent surcharge onto sales of food and beverages.

We’ll do the math for you: That’s 20 cents on a $20 tab. (Diners’ tip: Like sales tax, you don’t have to include it on the total when you’re figuring your tip.)

Management reports it hopes the fee raises $160,000 against the $500,000 it anticipates in compliance costs. How the eateries will bridge the balance of the gap isn’t hard to figure out. Because consumers always pay the vast bulk of government mandates, Gator’s Dockside prices will edge up.

The fact they didn’t just quietly do that in the first place suggests Gator’s bosses are attempting to make a political point, to turn up additional heat on a program that is already wildly unpopular. And with reports of the company’s gambit spreading like a prairie fire, you’d have to concede it’s mission accomplished.