ONTD Political

More "Obamacare Surcharges"

11:31 pm - 11/15/2012
FL Restaurantuer to Impose Surcharge for Obamacare

Get ready to pay more for your Grand Slam.

A Florida restaurateur who operates roughly 40 Denny’s locations and five Hurricane Grill & Wings franchises in Florida, Virginia and Georgia intends to add a 5 percent surcharge to customers’ bills to offset costs from ObamaCare beginning in January 2014 when the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented.

“People are trying to find ways to avoid the penalties and to avoid having to pay for ObamaCare,” John Metz told FoxNews.com. “Everyone’s looking for a way to not have to provide insurance for their employees. It’s essentially a huge tax on all us business people.”

To further offset the costs, Metz, who oversees roughly 1,200 employees as president and CEO of RREMC Restaurants, LLC, said he also will slash most of the staff's time to fewer than 30 hours per week. That change will be announced to employees next month, he said.

“I want to explain it to everybody, to let them know what’s coming down the pike,” he said. “We like to keep our employees informed.”

The changes will force some front-of-the-house employees to look for second jobs, Metz said, but he simply cannot afford the penalties associated with ObamaCare.

“It’s a great concept,” he said. “We want to have everyone insured. The problem is, who is going to pay for it and how are we going to accomplish this?”

Under the current law, employers with more than 50 full-time (or equivalent) workers will be charged a penalty for the number of employees exceeding 30 full-time staffers who are not covered. With an average of 35 full-time employees per location, Metz said the $2,000 penalty would total roughly $70,000 per restaurant.

Current coverage costs Metz up to $6,000 annually per full-time employee, he said. He currently provides coverage to about 250 employees.“It’s going to be a big issue for all of us — for my employees and for me,” said Metz, who has been in the industry since 1975. “The ones that are working more than 28 hours, they’re going to act as if I’m cutting their hours and they’ll have to find another job.”

At Denny’s restaurants operated by Metz, the average check is $9, he said, meaning the ObamaCare surcharge if implemented would be 45 cents on that bill. At Hurricane Grill & Wings locations, where the average bill is $14.50, the surcharge would total 72 cents.

Metz said he believes the entire restaurant industry — even high-end locations — will ultimately embrace the idea.

“That is what I foresee and that is the easier, least painful way to deal with these added costs,” he said. “In a true playing field, everybody will impose this, from McDonald’s to Denny’s to even maybe the fine dining restaurants in order to have the funds to be able to pay for either insurance or the penalty for not providing insurance to their employees.”

Metz also is urging his employees to consider contacting their local elected officials in hopes of finding another solution to offset his looming increased costs.

“It’s never good news, but it is what it is,” Metz said of increasing customers’ checks. “We really should look for a better or different way to pay for [ObamaCare]. I think what we’re going to ultimately see here is a European-type system where we have a value added tax or a national sales tax.”

Metz continued: “I have a choice: try to live within the rules, or go out of business.”

In a statement to FoxNews.com, the National Restaurant Association said it’s “premature” to assess precisely how the health care law will affect individual businesses.

“We have warned for some time that the mechanics of the health care law are very difficult for the restaurant industry, which is a low-margin industry that works to keep costs down in order to provide value to customers,” said Scott DeFife, executive vice president of policy and government affairs for the National Restaurant Association. “All costs, from gas and commodities to labor and insurance, eventually impact the price on the menu. It is important that operators get very familiar with the provisions of the law and start planning for its implementation; however, it’s premature to make a specific assessment of exactly how the law will affect any individual business because there are so many details that are unknown.”

Edited to put behind a cut! Sorry!
chaya 16th-Nov-2012 03:49 pm (UTC)
cut pls
layweed 16th-Nov-2012 03:58 pm (UTC)
Is he really gonna stick it on the bill as "Obamacare surcharge"? Because that's fucking disgusting. If you have to raise your prices by 5% to cover healthcare insurance for your workers, then do it. Don't fucking try to pass the buck and be like "OMG I DIDN'T WANT TO BUT OBAMA MADE ME". And uh, what's the point if he's going to simultaneously slap an Obamacare surcharge on your bill AND cut workers hours to <30 hrs?
bushy_brow 16th-Nov-2012 04:03 pm (UTC)
And uh, what's the point if he's going to simultaneously slap an Obamacare surcharge on your bill AND cut workers hours to <30 hrs?

Using Obamacare as an excuse to gouge people, IMO.
back_track 16th-Nov-2012 03:59 pm (UTC)
is there a list of all the companies that have publicly made statements/done things like this?
perthro 16th-Nov-2012 04:10 pm (UTC)
I think we should compile one in an info post. It looks like this Denny's guy owns several franchises, so locations of the restaurant will be important, vs. Papa John's all-over BS.
chessiekitty 16th-Nov-2012 03:59 pm (UTC)
If he's planning on cutting everyone's hours so he doesn't have to cover them, then why would he also increase the prices? Seems a bit hinky to me.
carmy_w 16th-Nov-2012 04:23 pm (UTC)
EXACTLY. Another shitty excuse to line his own fucking pockets.
shortsweetcynic 16th-Nov-2012 04:18 pm (UTC)
this fucking guy.

fine, whatever, their food was never great and has gone even further downhill in the last couple of years...the coffee tastes burned and everything is just nasty floating in a pool of grease. adding them to the "not anymore" list won't be a hardship.
shortsweetcynic 16th-Nov-2012 04:39 pm (UTC)
oh, SPEAKING OF "this fucking guy":

the next town over, there's a doctor who actually made national news with his "if you voted for obama, seek care elsewhere" sign taped to the front door of his practice.

i did not realize it also made the daily show. (the whole bit is excellent, but the relevant portion starts at 3:46.)

THESE are the assholes i live with. THESE PEOPLE are the reason i was losing my mind during the election.

THESE PEOPLE would rather have me die of a funny freckle than be insured.

and i really, really fucking hate these people.
winniechili 16th-Nov-2012 04:21 pm (UTC)
FYI he's already recanted this, they're not going to do that. Instead they're going to cut hours like all the other good businesses who'd rather keep up their profits than provide for their employees.
layweed 16th-Nov-2012 04:24 pm (UTC)
I really don't get how cutting hours is gonna work unless they cut opening hours too. Wouldn't they have to hire more staff to make up for less hours? Which costs them money anyway? I guess more people on payroll still costs them less than having to pay for benefits for existing employees?
saint_monkey 16th-Nov-2012 04:29 pm (UTC)
They got this idea from all the restaurants in San Francisco. We have a rule called "Healthy SF" which requires employers to contribute $1.31 to $1.96 per hour to each employee's healthcare. (depending upon the size of the company.)

Employers hated having to cut into their profit to provide health care, so they brazenly added the cost to the customer's bill as a line item, so that they could 1) trumpet how much they "cared" about their workers, and 2) complain that they were being forced to provide this care. 3) pass on the "flat cost" mandated by Healthy SF to the customer in the form of a percentage of their tab, (most restaurants don't charge you $1.96, they charge you 1% of your bill which usually amounts to more than that,) so that they could pool more funds than they needed, and pocket the remainder.

winniechili 16th-Nov-2012 04:32 pm (UTC)
I wouldn't stop going to a restaurant that raised its prices by 1%. I WOULD stop going to a place that politicized and whined about it however.
kaelstra 16th-Nov-2012 04:30 pm (UTC)
I'm baffled at all these people who want to add surcharges and cut their workers hours.

/side eye
chessiekitty 16th-Nov-2012 04:40 pm (UTC)
OT... How did you get your panda to roar? Mine only ever looks cute and wistful. :)
nicosian 16th-Nov-2012 04:31 pm (UTC)
"It'd be great to have everyone insured but how! and WHO pays??" is such a common lament.

SINGLE FUCKING PAYER, you gobshites. But oh, no, can't have that. Don't like the mega premiums insurers charge, but you howl and snivel and whine over reform...i swear they think the medical fairy just sorts it out.

Lots of other countries have pretty stable economies whilst providing a nationalized health care access plan. Why act like this is goddamn rocket science, oh captains of industry?

layweed 16th-Nov-2012 04:34 pm (UTC)
Yarrrrr. Single payer or universal healthcare and we wouldn't have to worry about all this fucking shite. None of the questions of constitutionality with the mandate (though tbh I don't doubt they would find something about constitutionality anyway) and none of this nonsense coming from employers saying they're gonna have to raise prices or slash hours or fire people or w/e.
veracity 16th-Nov-2012 04:58 pm (UTC)
That's why I tend to tip shitty waitresses with 15% (the ones who aren't busy but disappear for most of an hour meal), a good one with 20%, and a really excellent one 25-30%. Across the board, though if it's a cheaper place to eat, I'll add on an extra dollar usually. But then I was raised "you're doing me a service, thus you get paid." I have too many waitress friends to not know how demented the businesses are.
wikilobbying 16th-Nov-2012 04:38 pm (UTC)
Everyone’s looking for a way to not have to provide insurance for their employees. It’s essentially a huge tax on all us business people

just because your greedy asses don't wanna pay for it and want to make excuses. it's amazing how much you don't realize you sound like a fucking douche.

like wow it's such a huuuuge tax on all the business people~ but what about their employees? having their hours cut and having to seek out additional jobs and going without health insurance isn't a burden on them? come on.
winniechili 16th-Nov-2012 04:40 pm (UTC)
That's what their whole angle is, that it's not THEIR fault they have to cut employees. It's the fault of big bad Obama that people are losing their jobs and they have to jack up their prices by 2 cents. They're counting on the fact that most people will be on the side of businesses having to pass the cost to the consumer because most people are too fucking stupid to get it.
poetic_pixie_13 16th-Nov-2012 04:41 pm (UTC)
Ignoring this bullshit to comment on my heartbreak that there are not IHOPs in Toronto. Their name is a lie. ;________________;
paksenarrion2 17th-Nov-2012 05:57 am (UTC)
I'll trade you some IHOP's for a half a dozen Tim Horton's?

tabaqui 16th-Nov-2012 05:43 pm (UTC)
Greedy friggin' liars. Jayzus.
effervescent 16th-Nov-2012 06:00 pm (UTC)
This just makes me sad. :/

And I had an argument with someone a couple of days ago over the requirement for having insurance, because 'she doesn't get sick'. I really hope the US eventually gets a universal system, because it seems like the average person feels they're paying for something they ~don't need~ and the businesses are busy having a temper tantrum over having to do this.

Anyway, this is ridiculous. I hope these stories get forgotten shortly, once everyone gets used to it.
lil_insanity 16th-Nov-2012 06:12 pm (UTC)
Ugh, my partner is like this. "Oh, I haven't been to a doctor in 5 years, I never get sick, so I don't want to pay for insurance!"
little_rachael 16th-Nov-2012 06:01 pm (UTC)
I'd gladly pay a little more at restaurants, but it's wrong to cut employees' hours or fire them because of Obamacare.

Fucking rich bastards.
earthequality 16th-Nov-2012 06:46 pm (UTC)
To further offset the costs, Metz, who oversees roughly 1,200 employees as president and CEO of RREMC Restaurants, LLC, said he also will slash most of the staff's time to fewer than 30 hours per week. That change will be announced to employees next month, he said.

You want to keep your employees informed, but you go outside the company to give this information to the news first? You cut the majority your employees from full time, on top of adding a surcharge. There's no point for the surcharge except for him to make more money, say he did it and act like the victim while his workers have to worry even more about their livelihood.

It seems people keep forgetting other countries have universal healthcare and they've not gone under.
sio 16th-Nov-2012 10:27 pm (UTC)
oh but but but, there's those WAIT TIMES....and the random rich Canadians/Brits who come to AMERICA and pay up front because their healthcare systems are so terrible! they don't want to wait their turn for treatment.

this is the line i keep seeing from conservative friends--except they conveniently ignore the fact that if some non-American is coming here to get a procedure done and can drop x thousand out of pocket to get it done, they're obviously not suffering that bad.
ljs_lj 16th-Nov-2012 07:03 pm (UTC)
Vaguely related....

I was talking to my mom the other day and she mentioned that it was time for her and Dad to sign up for next year's health insurance. (Dad's work gives them a selection of insurance policies to choose from each autumn for the next January.) She said that their deductible has doubled and blamed it on ObamaCare. I said that if I had to guess, it was the insurance company screwing them over because they're unhappy about ObamaCare. In case it comes up again and I have to try to explain reality to my mother, who doesn't follow the news and repeatedly says that she doesn't understand a thing about politics, how likely is it:

1) that I was right and the company is just throwing a temper tantrum; or
2) there is actually something in the Affordable Care Act that is legitimately altering the insurance company's policy design that makes a deductible increase make sense; or
3) (which only occurred to me in the last five minutes) the deductible raise has something to do with the fact that both Mom and Dad turn 60 in 2013; or
4) some combination of the above; or
5) none of the above and you'll explain in comments?
romp 17th-Nov-2012 03:01 am (UTC)
I know little about it but that doesn't stop me from replying! It sounds like premiums are going up but insurers will say it's because they have to cover everyone now. But, as you know, many countries provide health care for everyone for less cost. So I too am suspicious.
bushy_brow 16th-Nov-2012 07:58 pm (UTC)
Or equivalent here clearly needs to be defined as "payroll exceeds 2000 man hours per week, with each full time salaried staff member counting as 8 hours" and then they need to provide health care for 30 people at minimum, first slots are required to go to full time workers, if their workload has hit that. (easily calculated from payroll tax withholding reported to government weekly)

Personally, I think we need to get rid of full time and part time designations altogether and pay people a set amount of benefits PER HOUR OF WORK. That way, they can't dick around with hours and get out of paying ANY benefits. But that may just be an idealistic pipe dream. :-/
schmanda 16th-Nov-2012 09:33 pm (UTC)
I hate everything.
evilgmbethy 16th-Nov-2012 09:39 pm (UTC)
fuck you, buddy. I know how much servers get paid in Florida, and it's not even minimum wage, which is bullshit. You can afford this, you cheap piece of shit.
jwaneeta 17th-Nov-2012 02:15 am (UTC)
I'm really glad that these eateries I'm going to be boycotting have such shit food.
romp 17th-Nov-2012 03:07 am (UTC)
People need to see through the lies blaming workers and understand that this guy and those like him aren't trying to make some profit, they're trying to get all the profit. It's not enough to have a large home, a couple of nice cars, college for the kids covered, and a retirement fund--they want EVERYTHING. We have to tell them that they have enough and must allow others to meet their basic needs.

I know, few people can bother to track a boycott but if there was a basic change in values...

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