LA Restaurant Adds 3% Charge For Health Insurance

By: Kimberly Cheng
By: Kimberly Cheng

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- A restaurant in California has sparked angry responses from patrons after adding a 3% surcharge to their bills.

When you get your bill at the Republique restaurant in Los Angeles, you see the cost of your meal, the tax and a 3% surcharge which the owners say helps pay for employees health insurance.

"I feel like we already pay a lot to begin with by eating in these establishments," said one customer. "I feel like they should take care of their employees themselves."

Other customers were sounding off on Yelp too:

"How dare you 3% (sic) surcharge to my bill," said one; while another wrote, "we spent $150 for two of us and you want me to pay an extra 3% because I can afford to eat here, then I should be able to afford that fee? Absurd!"

The restaurant declined and interview, but released a statement that said in part:

"It directly benefits all the staff kitchen and front of the house. Moreover, it enables us to make all of out staff full time and to provide them with insurance instead of excluding them as they would if they were part time employees."

Under the Affordable Care Act, employers would be required to pay for their health insurance, but a restaurant spokesperson said the surcharge has nothing to do with Obamacare mandates.

"It's not just taking care of myself, my coworkers that you see in the front, but also the cooks in the back. Every business has an overhead, and the only distance is we're rarely upfront."

Upfront or not, the charge already has at least one person reconsidering dining there.

"Yeah, it's beginning to. I didn't know about it before now and I think I would think twice about it. I really would."

Posted by: Nick Viviani

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