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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Florida Denny's Owner to Add 5 Percent Obamacare Surcharge to Bills

Posted by on Thu, Nov 15, 2012 at 11:37 AM

This dickhead is forgetting an option: People could also decide not to eat at his restaurants.

While some business owners threaten to cut workers' hours to avoid paying for their health care, a West Palm Beach, Fla., restaurant owner is going even further. John Metz said he will add a 5 percent surcharge to customers' bills to offset what he said are the increased costs of Obamacare, along with reducing his employees' hours.

"If I leave the prices the same, but say on the menu that there is a 5 percent surcharge for Obamacare, customers have two choices. They can either pay it and tip 15 or 20 percent, or if they really feel so inclined, they can reduce the amount of tip they give to the server, who is the primary beneficiary of Obamacare," Metz told The Huffington Post. "Although it may sound terrible that I'm doing this, it's the only alternative. I've got to pass the cost on to the consumer."

Between this and the extended Black Friday hours I told you about yesterday, it seems to me that businesses are just going all-out and declaring war on low-wage American workers. Presumably, they're upset that, as Jon Stewart pointed out earlier this week, they can't outsource sales and food service jobs to Chinese workers for even greater profits. All this whining about the lower classes being "gifted" with a basic human right that they somehow didn't earn is making me sick.


Comments (32) RSS

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The story I heard, and which seems credible, is that during the Second World War, the wage controls in effect made the provision of health insurance about the only good employers could offer employees at a time when the workers were being worked particularly hard.

Add the negative power of the word 'socialism', the system's working fairly well for the Good People (and very well for the Best People), and a great deal of inertia, and you have the current situation.
Posted by Gerald Fnord on November 16, 2012 at 9:12 AM · Report this
0.) Not caring for the health of food industry people is stupid on the order of growing several states' worth of identical maïze, or being habitually rude to the guy who gives you straight-razor shaves.

1.) Maybe he assumes that anyone already eating at Denny's feels they have no other choice.

Posted by Gerald Fnord on November 16, 2012 at 9:01 AM · Report this
I've never eaten at Denny's or Chick-Fil-A. These restaurant owners forget that customers have so many options that we can easily avoid their restaurants if we don't like their politics.
Posted by Patricia Kayden on November 16, 2012 at 7:39 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 33
Which is why advanced societies don't have tipping at restaurants.
Posted by Will in Seattle on November 15, 2012 at 4:07 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 32

That's really the logical conclusion to tipping in the first place. Restaurant owners won't compensate their employees fairly, so we, the customers, have to do it.
Posted by keshmeshi on November 15, 2012 at 3:31 PM · Report this
The can call it "Sorry You Work For an Asshole" Day
Posted by catsnbanjos on November 15, 2012 at 3:12 PM · Report this
Instead of boycotting this place, what locals should do is simply stop in, leave a one or two dollar tip for a waitperson, and leave. No business for Mr. Metz, but at least the staff will make a few bucks.
Posted by catsnbanjos on November 15, 2012 at 3:12 PM · Report this
sperifera 29
So first we, the noshing consumers, have to subsidize his cheapassedness by leaving a gratuity to supplement the piss-poor wage he pays his servers, and now we have to further subsidize his cheapassedness when it comes to healthcare? Charge me what you need to charge me to make the whole picture work for your business, don't bait and switch me with low menu prices that cannot support your needs, and then add the 20-25% for the server and 5% for the server's ACA-required healthcare, and 1.5% for the fork that I drop on the floor and 0.5% for the fresh flowers on the table...
Posted by sperifera on November 15, 2012 at 3:09 PM · Report this
I'll never understand why American employers don't lobby en masse for universal one-payer healthcare. As a non-American, it seems nuts to me that jobs and healthcare are linked in the first place. I understand it as a perk, but not how it came to be the whole healthcare enchilada. I wish Obamacare had gone back and unlinked insurance from healthcare - it ain't the same thing.
Posted by Ruth Evershed on November 15, 2012 at 2:57 PM · Report this
@26 Good point. I know a lot of people who are stuck in jobs that they hate but can't leave because doing so would mean losing the family insurance coverage. Now they'll have options.
Posted by Clayton on November 15, 2012 at 2:43 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 26
Guess if you're too chickenshit to go Galt the next best thing is to find places to shop where they treat the help like shit.

(The big story in the next 5 years will be talented professionals who quit their corporate gig to start a small business because now they can get insurance for their sick kid. Watch and see. These whiners are just giving the next wave of entrepreneurs a wider niche to fill.)
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on November 15, 2012 at 2:14 PM · Report this
I love how the chain restaurant CEO's of America think that raising their prices by a few cents will make us all see the folly of our ways. I can imagine their internal monologue: "Oh you thought not being able to get treatment for your cancer was bad America? Well guess what, now you have to pay 50 cents more for my shitty food! Bet you regret electing Obama now!"
Posted by matt! on November 15, 2012 at 2:13 PM · Report this
wait, wait, he's going to both CUT the employee hours so he doesn't have to pay insurance, and then raise prices 5% to pay the penalty? Makes perfect sense. Especially since Denny's reported an increase of only 42% in net profits this year. Obviously, they can't afford it..... Restaurants in general pay the absolute minimum they can get away with, they don't generally offer full time employment anyway, and rarely offer medical except to upper manangement. I scrape by with my own company, my lowest paid employee makes roughly 70% of what I make and they get insurance that I pay a portion of..... WTF is wrong with these other business owners?
Posted by nador on November 15, 2012 at 2:06 PM · Report this
As I said above (@10), I'm unlikely to eat at a Denny's, anyway. But assuming, for the sake of argument, that all restauranteurs are going to feel a crunch, and they will all have to raise the prices by 5% to cover health care costs for employees (as part of the listed price--not as a politically labled surcharge"), I return to the second part of what I said, above. I can afford an extra fifty cents on a plate of food far more easily than a waitress can afford health care under the current system.

Posted by Clayton on November 15, 2012 at 1:57 PM · Report this
Aurora Erratic 22
Yay, now I have an iron-clad excuse to go somewhere else when my mom wants to go to Denny's for breakfast! I never have to hear anyone order Moon Over My Hammy, ever again.
Posted by Aurora Erratic on November 15, 2012 at 1:49 PM · Report this
Funny that the places that serve the shittiest food are the only ones busy whining while screwing over their employees.
Posted by Senor Guy on November 15, 2012 at 1:31 PM · Report this
In San Francisco we passed universal healthcare and most restaurants now have a healthcare surcharge. It hasn't hurt the restaurant scene here in the slightest. Most people know that the charge is going to provide care to people who need it and prevent sick workers from showing up to handle their food. We really don't mind.
Posted by LukeJoe on November 15, 2012 at 1:16 PM · Report this
@10: Seriously. Should businesses add a separate surcharge for every government program they don't like?

This is pathetic crybabying and it'll probably lose him more business than the higher price would have on its own.
Posted by MRM on November 15, 2012 at 12:59 PM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 18
Maybe the Denny's we have here in Seattle should lose their permits as well as Papa Johns?
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on November 15, 2012 at 12:55 PM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 17
People who own franchise restaurants are people who had a little money, but weren't bright enough to figure out a marketing or business plan their own.
Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay on November 15, 2012 at 12:53 PM · Report this
MrBaker 16
Will he then lower costs when his healthier employees miss less work and are more productive?

Some sick waiter breathing on your Grand Slam Breakfast is the "current" state at his Denny's reasturants.
Posted by MrBaker on November 15, 2012 at 12:30 PM · Report this
The fact that he suggests taking it out of the server's tip says everything you need to know about this guy.
Posted by Proteus on November 15, 2012 at 12:29 PM · Report this
It's not just restaurant owners, believe me. There are lots of similar jobs out there.

And yes, the owners are used to treating their servers like piles of shit who do not deserve medical treatment if they get sick or hurt. God knows, the employees can't afford treatment out of pocket.
It's another case of, "I've got mine, fuck the rest of you!"

Anyone know of a list of restaurant owners (or other employers) who are being dicks this way?
I'd really like one for Colorado so I know where NOT to go. And if there is a list of employers who support Obamacare, I'd like that too. Thanks.
Posted by swing state voter on November 15, 2012 at 12:27 PM · Report this
npage148 13
@12: They are in a business which has been historically built on exploiting underpaid workers and routinely skirting tax laws. It seems to me that if a business is getting shut down for labor violations and/or not paying taxes it's either a restaurant or bar. They don't like to be told to pay their fair share because they never had before.
Posted by npage148 on November 15, 2012 at 12:24 PM · Report this
What the fuck is wrong with restaurant owners? Why are all of these assholes people who own franchised restaurants? Is there some sort of cult of food service? Or is it that they are so used to treating their servers like piles of shit, all of a sudden they have to look at them like they are human?
Posted by Digitocalypse on November 15, 2012 at 12:19 PM · Report this
LogopolisMike 11
He said he was a business owner, but he didn't claim to be a GOOD business owner.
Posted by LogopolisMike on November 15, 2012 at 12:18 PM · Report this
Somehow this guy's rage fails to outrage me, because (a) I hate Denny's, anyway, and am unlikely to eat at one, and (b) paying an extra fifty cents for a ten dollar plate of food--which I can well afford--is far less of a hardship for me than going without health insurance is for a waitress busting her ass for sub-minimum wage plus tips.
Posted by Clayton on November 15, 2012 at 12:11 PM · Report this
He should just raise his prices if he has to, to do the right thing and cover his employees. By adding the surcharge, he is making a political statement.
Posted by swing state voter on November 15, 2012 at 12:11 PM · Report this
It sounds terrible because it IS terrible.
Posted by tired and true on November 15, 2012 at 12:00 PM · Report this
Metz told The Huffington Post. "Although it may sound terrible that I'm doing this, it's the only alternative. I've got to pass the cost on to the consumer."

What cost?
Be specific.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on November 15, 2012 at 12:00 PM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 4
It is pretty amazing to me that people can claim to love America so much, but piss all over basic human rights because supporting those rights costs them a few bucks a year.

All this talk about "Obamacare" expenses is such bullshit. Guess who has no extra costs due to the ACA? Decent employers who give their employees an insurance option.

You are only being asked to pay a little more because you already treat your employees like shit.

If they really cared about the money rather than just fucking people over for short sighted "revenge," they would be at the forefront of demanding a universal option. Eliminate their healthcare costs for good.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on November 15, 2012 at 11:56 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 1
Or they can go to another restaurant instead.

The market cares nothing for your flawed mercantilist ideologies, Teahadists.
Posted by Will in Seattle on November 15, 2012 at 11:49 AM · Report this

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