LAKE COUNTY, Fla.
Restaurants in a popular central Florida chain are charging customers more
to offset the costs of the Affordable Care Act.
Five Gator's Dockside restaurants in central Florida have just tacked on a 1 percent fee for customers.
Customers at the Clermont Gator's Dockside will soon have to dish out more to eat there.
Restaurant managers have posted signs alerting customers to the new surcharge.
"We wanted to definitely be transparent that affordable health care is part of the cost of doing business," said Sandra Clark, director of operations with Gator's Dockside Group.
Earlier this month Gator's Dockside Group, with locations in central Florida and the Jacksonville area, began to tack on the surcharge.
The owners said it will help pay the health care costs for their 500 full-time employees.
Customers had mixed reactions.
"I don't agree with it. I don't," said customer Brian Earwood.
"I don't think it's the right thing to do because, you know, you're penalizing us. But at the same time you have to pay employees and take care of them as well and I totally understand that too," said customer Mauri Carver.
The Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare, requires businesses with more than 50 full-time employees to offer affordable health care benefits.
Clark said her company believes the 1 percent surcharge is the best solution.
"We're definitely doing it to stay afloat. It's not political in anyway. The president may have brought this agenda to forefront. It's law now and what's law made it real for us," said Clark.
Clark said the restaurant group expects to pay up to $500,000 a year for its employees' health care.
She said the restaurant doesn't expect to come close to recouping that the total amount it must pay for government health care.
She said that so far her company has receive positive feedback from their customers.