Seen a ‘COVID-19 Surcharge’ On Your Restaurant Bill? Some Eateries Are Tacking On 5 Percent

Owner of Atlanta's F.R.O.G.S Cantina says patrons have been increasing tips, will not implement extra fee.

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As restaurants are starting to reopen around the nation, some are adding a “COVID-19 surcharge” to the bill.

One such restaurant in West Plains, Missouri, Kiko Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Lounge, earlier this month implemented the extra fee which was five percent.

Kiko’s managing partner Billy Yuzar told TODAY Food the “surcharge was implemented on May 6 following a noticeable price increase on meat, seafood, and vegetables from their local supplier.”

Yuzar has since removed the COVID-19 surcharge after national backlash over the fee, while local customers didn’t seem to mind the increase; after all, a sign was posted to the restaurant’s entrance alerting patrons to the change.

There aren’t currently any known Atlanta-area restaurants adopting a similar policy, but if we’re to become a trend in the City, would Atlantans pay it?

Clint Barrow, the owner of F.R.O.G.S Cantina in the Midtown Promenade, told What Now Atlanta in an email Friday there was no chance his restaurant would implement such a surcharge, even with rising costs.

F.R.O.G.S. has been reopened now for 15 days and Barrow said Atlantans have been tipping well and an increase in alcohol purchases can offset new costs related to things like heightened sanitation (click here to see what other eateries have reopened).

“With everything being to-go and the cost of sanitization, it’s been seen that our customers are tipping very generously,” Borrow said.

“If our patrons purchase alcohol, it helps offset the costs. Thank God for prohibition.”

So, aside from tipping well, how else can Atlantans help restaurants amid the coronavirus outbreak?

“Drink more ice-cold margaritas,” Barrow said.

“If we survive, the community survives. We have always supported school teams, etc., now it’s payback so we can continue the tradition.”

[Photo: Talia on Twitter]

[Editor’s note: The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is rapidly evolving as is its effect on Atlanta, and the City’s businesses and its residents. Click here for What Now Atlanta’s ongoing coverage of the crisis. For guidance and updates on the pandemic, please visit the C.D.C. website.]

Caleb J. Spivak

Caleb J. Spivak

Caleb J. Spivak

Caleb J. Spivak

8 Responses

  1. What a joke. Want people to come back in and eat then f*ck em with this charge. Good damn way to kill off biz before it starts back.

    1. Why do you feel that way?
      Would you rather they add a dollar to every menu item– and you not know why?

      1. I’d probably prefer that to a fee that gets tacked on at the end. Surcharges, fees, gratuities, taxes, tips are already enough of a pain in the ass.

  2. I have read about this elsewhere, and I honestly can’t believe that people are up in arms over this surcharge.
    The above receipt shows a $44 bill with a $2 C-19 surcharge– what’s the big deal???
    Now is not the time for restaurants to raise their prices, and this is a very transparent way to make up for the extra cost of doing business at this time.

  3. Yeah totally makes sense given the increase in cost for many of the basic ingredients And meats these restaurants need. A reasonable surcharge totally is expected.

  4. I don’t really care one way or the other, but it seems like a bonehead move … even just economically. If restaurants could’ve made more money by charging more they’d’ve already been doing it. The price of food at a restaurant isn’t related to it’s cost (although that dictates whether it’ll stay in business or not), it’s related to the value people place on it.

    A 5% surcharge is peanuts, I’d absolutely bet it’ll cost them more in customer annoyance and lost sales than it’ll make back.

    I could see why people may be ticked. To the point made in the article, tips have been up and some people have been patronizing restaurants partially to keep them in business. Kinda a slap in the face to that crowd to get stuck with an extra fee.

    1. Tips are for employees, they don’t go to subsidizing the added cost of doing business under the new C-19 guidelines.
      “Kinda a slap in the face to that crowd to get stuck with an extra fee.”
      — yet you say you’d be ok with raising the price of each menu item. I don’t understand, is just a matter of optics? You don’t mind paying more, you just don’t want to see it noted as a C-19 surcharge?
      My buddy told me that those latex type gloves have doubled in price (from his supplier) because of the C-19 demand. His employees are running through them twice as fast as they were pre-epidemic.

      1. I just think it adds more complication than necessary. The surcharge also kinda makes the assumption that those costs are temporary and will go away when things are back to normal. Some of them might not. Tipping, is already an outdated and unnecessary practice. I’d rather not have to pull out an excel spreadsheet to find out what my hotdogs is gonna cost. It sucks that costs have increased andit socks but sugarcoating it as a surcharge is more trouble than its worth.

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