Florida Food Chain Imposes Obamacare Price Hike

Customers paying a one-percent surcharge

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A restaurant chain in Florida is now forcing customers to pay a little extra because of the new health care reform law.

At least eight Gator’s Dockside restaurants in central Florida are now charging patrons a one-percent Affordable Care Act surcharge for their meals, the local CBS affiliate reports.

“The costs associated with ACA compliance could ultimately close our doors,” reads a sign posted in affected Gator’s restaurants. “Instead of raising prices on our products to generate the additional revenue needed to cover the costs of ACA compliance, certain Gator’s Dockside locations have implemented a 1% surcharge on all food and beverage purchases only.”

Gator’s Dockside has about 500 employees, half of whom work full-time, CNN reports. The health care reform law will require companies with 100 or more full-time employees to provide health care coverage for those workers beginning in 2015. Sandra Clark, the company’s director of operations, estimates the law will cost the company about $500,000 per year. The meal surcharge is expected to bring in $160,000 per year. A separate set of Gator’s Dockside restaurants run by a different company will not levy the health care charge.

“We’re definitely doing it to stay afloat,” Clark told WPEC. “It’s not political in any way.”

Gator’s isn’t the first player in the restaurant business to warn that Obamacare will increase costs to consumers; Papa John’s said last year it could lead to pricier pizzas.