Why some restaurants are adding a "COVID-19 surcharge"

Source: (MGN)
Source: (MGN)(KNOE)
Published: May. 15, 2020 at 8:09 PM CDT
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As restaurants slowly start to welcome dine in customers again, you may want to double check the receipt. Some businesses are including a “COVID-19 surcharge”.

Several restaurants in West Plains, Missouri recently added a 5% extra fee to help make up for the rising cost of food during the pandemic. Meat plants have been forced to close due to COVID-19 outbreaks in recent weeks, causing prices to dramatically rise.

NBC 15 asked the Wisconsin Restaurant Association if it could happen here too. They say they aren’t currently aware of any establishments doing this yet but it’s possible. "Now that operations are opening up, I could see a few looking at this COVID surcharge as an example as an alternative way to recoup those extra costs," said Susan Quam, WI Restaurant Association Executive Vice President.

Quam says in most cased, this isn’t price gouging or profits. "Rather than raise the price of the meal it would just be a surcharge at the bottom of the ticket so the consumer really understands ‘hey I’m not gouging you on prices...i’m passing on the cost incurred to me," she said.

"One of the things we're seeing because of the supply chain interruptions is certain food products are costing more right now," said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. He’s asking people to remain patient as many local restaurants struggle to make ends meet.

If you’re worried about a COVID-19 surcharge, officials recommend customers ask ahead of time and determine if they want to pay it or not.