Pandemic Takes a Bite Out of Restaurants; Diners See 'COVID Surcharge' Appear on Tabs

Friday May 15, 2020

This photo, posted at Twitter, shows a restaurant receipt with a 'novel' new line item: A 'COVID-19 Surcharge'
This photo, posted at Twitter, shows a restaurant receipt with a 'novel' new line item: A 'COVID-19 Surcharge'  (Source:'Talia' / Twitter)

The global coronavirus pandemic has caused shortages in some food products, such as meat, which has driven up food prices. At the same time, many businesses have had to shutter in order to slow the spread of the illness. Restaurants that remain in operation in areas where social distancing orders are in effect can't seat customers, so they are hit with still more additional costs for extra supplies related to food takeouts.

What's a businessperson to do?

At least one eatery in Michigan has decided to pass the buck — literally — to the customer, reports local news channel Fox 17.

The news station reports that an establishment called Goog's Pub & Grub now adds a $1 "COVID surcharge" to its orders to help defray the added costs of doing business in a time of pandemic.

Startled customers took to social media to share photos of their receipts, which now, in a sign of the times, bear an additional line item: A "COVID-19 surcharge."

"'Scuse me... what?" posted one Twitter user, who posted a shote of a crumpled receipt with the surcharge line circled in red.

But the owner and general manager of Goog's say they aren't being opportunistic; just practical. Also, they say, they're being up front about it.

"Other places are just raising their price and not telling you," the news report quoted owner Brad White as saying.

White noted that the per-meal cost of takeout supplies along adds almost a dollar to each order.

"Takeout averages about 82 cents more per meal just to put that meal out, 'cause you're not just putting it on a plate or tray and washing that again. It's the silverware, the boxes," White said.

White also wants to take care of his staff, despite having trimmed back to 16 employees from 35, reports TMZ. The remaining staff, who used be paid $6 per hour, are now making $10 per hour.

Further, TMZ notes, "He's not on an island, mind you — lots restaurants, including some in California and Missouri, have also added surcharges."

When... and if... we return to normal, whatever that looks like, the surcharges will — like a coronavirus fever — disappear, media reports said.

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