Have you noticed a health and wellness charge on your receipt at a restaurant recently? Whether you have seen it or not, you should know what it is. Restaurants in the United States are adding a new tax to your bill to help cover the increasing costs of health insurance for their employees.
For example, a company in Minnesota that owns two restaurants started adding a 3% charge to customers’ bills. While there are always mixed reviews, the restaurants report that their customers are largely supportive of the extra charge because it helps provide the employees with affordable and decent health care, something that is currently lacking in our country.
Why Some Restaurants Have This Extra Charge
Some restaurants have actually been doing this for decades. Have you ever noticed? Many of us don’t take receipts when we eat out, but perhaps we should start checking them. A restaurant called Biwa in Portland started doing this in 2013. They added a 5% charge on customer’s bills.
According to Eater.com, Biwa’s explanation to customers is, “All of the funds from this small service charge are used to provide full healthcare benefits to all of our staff, and to support living wage incomes for our cooks and dishwashers (the non-tipped members of the Biwa family.”
This charge definitely causes mixed reactions and may even make a restaurant lose customers, but it is important that they are being transparent about the tax. No matter what a customer feels about the tax, most can agree that they want to know exactly where their money is going.
How Do You Feel About It?
If you discover the charge and don’t want to pay it, simply ask your server to remove it. Most restaurants will do so without any issue. Many more restaurants may start to add a charge or tax because many restaurant workers are not supplied with health insurance. Often, they are paid such low wages that they may not be able to afford insurance on their own either.
Some complain that customers shouldn’t have to pay for the staff’s health insurance costs and wonder where the money is really going. It also begs the question, where does it end? Soon, there may be so many fees or taxes that customers won’t want to tip. This may lead to a bigger problem.
What do you think about a health and wellness charge? Do you think it is a good idea or a bad idea? Will you pay it or will you complain if you notice it while you are out to eat?
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