Restaurants are among the essential businesses that are working hard to support people during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their business models have had to change drastically; they've moved to only pickup and delivery, and many restaurants have had to lay off employees and work with a skeleton crew to safely stay afloat.
In response to this struggle, some restaurants have begun to implement "COVID surcharges" to customers' bills. It's usually just a couple of dollars, but it has incited passionate discussion both from people who understand the need for it and those who don't.
A sushi restaurant recently added just over $2 to a customer's bill labeled as "COVID-19 surcharge." A similar charge has been implemented at Goog's Pub and Grub in Holland, MI.
Goog's Pub and Grub told Fox 17, "the 'COVID charge' is a way for them to be transparent about the rising costs in the restaurant industry during the COVID-19 pandemic."
They've been adding a $1 charge per meal to help make up for the elevated costs of takeout. "You're not just putting it on a plate or tray and washing that again. It's the silverware, the boxes," said Goog's owner, Brad White. The prices of the food itself are also rising as supply chains are becoming interrupted due to the pandemic.
Some customers totally understand this and they are more than happy to pay a few extra bucks to a local business that is going above and beyond to provide them with meals.
If it takes a dollar or two to keep these businesses afloat and help them cover the increasing costs they're dealing with, that seems reasonable In addition to rising food and supply prices, these restaurants are working hard to keep their employees safe and operate in a way that reduces risk.
Obviously, however, some people don't feel the same way. "By you already going there you are supporting them," one person wrote. "And it isn’t like they had a $5 meal. This person had already spent a good amount at the restaurant, which supports them. I don’t think it’s right to add on an additional charge. Fast way to lose business."
"If business people are going to pawn off the cost of every single thing on their customers, then they deserve to go out of business," wrote another person. That's definitely a, um, strong opinion.
Yes, it is legal. Restaurants can charge what they want. Some restaurants charge $12 for a giant plate of pasta. Others charge $72 for some bleu cheese foam on a tiny celery stalk. It's perfectly legal. Not to mention, Brad White told Fox 17, lots of restaurants are already probably charging more without telling their customers.
"Other places are just raising their price and not telling you," he said. "It's going to be a while before the food industry, the suppliers catch up. If the industry's prices are going to stay, it's going to affect people down the road just as much as it is now."
Be grateful that you can still order a pizza while there's a deadly virus out there and pay the restaurant what it deserves, for goodness' sake. Oh, and tip your delivery drivers. Like, a lot.