CUSTOMERS complain about a sudden 3 percent surcharge on a popular restaurant’s menu as the owner reveals the shocking reason.
Years after the pandemic devastated restaurants across the US, many are still working to cover the immense financial losses – and inflationary prices have made matters worse.
John Barker, president and CEO of the Ohio Restaurant Association, believes there’s a reason.
“I’ve been in this business for almost three decades and I’ve never seen a cost environment as high as it is now,” he said 10WBNSThis shows that food costs have increased by eight to 15 percent over the past 17 months.
“We’ve never seen anything like this in history, so it’s just a lot of pressure on an industry that’s still recovering from a pandemic,” he said.
Labor costs have also increased about 25 percent over the past three years, Barker added.
He called this increase in costs “unprecedented” for such a short period of time.
To keep up with rising costs, some restaurants like Pizza Cottage imposed a 3 percent surcharge “instead of raising menu prices.”
The restaurant’s website said the price increase was “due to significant price increases in merchandise and increased labor and operating costs.”
Forno, another restaurant, added a three percent transaction fee to all bills paid by credit card.
Bob Szuter, co-owner of Wolf’s Ridge Brewing, said he was considering introducing such a fee because his restaurant is trying to avoid surcharges.
“We all get it from different angles and try to do our economic part and not be too aggressive with our prices,” he said, revealing that menu prices have increased by 20 to 30 percent in the last couple of years, just to stay afloat.
“We didn’t charge any surcharges or fees, we tried to refrain from that.”
Szuter said a transaction fee is something he can support.
“That’s such a significant amount of what we pay, at least three percent on each check,” he said.
According to Barker, the ORA has encouraged restaurants introducing these fees to give their customers advance notice of the change, but it’s not required that they do so.
Barker hopes that customers will also take the new fees into account.
“I’m asking consumers to just be considerate and understand what’s going on,” he said.