Managers have posted signs at 10 Gator’s Dockside restaurants in Lake County, Lakeland and the Jacksonville area notifying customers of the 1 percent fee, reported WPEC-TV.
“We wanted to definitely be transparent that affordable healthcare is part of the cost of doing business,” said Sandra Clark, director of operations with Gator’s Dockside Group.
Four other Gator’s locations owned by another restaurant group have not added the surcharge.
Clark said the additional charge helps the company pay for the health care costs of its 500 full-time employees.
She said most customers have been supportive of the change, although not all of them are happy about it.
“I don’t think it’s the right thing to do because, you know, you’re penalizing us, but at the same time you have to pay employees and take care of them, as well, and I totally understand that, too,” said customer Mauri Carver.
The Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, requires businesses with more than 50 full-time employees to offer health care benefits, and Clark said the surcharge was necessary.
“We’re definitely doing it to stay afloat,” she said. “It’s not political in any way. The president may have brought this agenda to forefront, (but) it’s law now, and what’s law made it real for us.”
Clark said the restaurant group expected employee health care benefits to cost the company up to $500,000 a year, and she said the surcharge would not likely cover those costs.
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