Denny’s customers in Florida may see a spike in menu prices thanks to Obamacare.
A Florida restaurateur who owns 40 Denny’s Restaurants and five Hurricane Grill & Wings locations claims he will charge customers an extra five percent to offset ObamaCare costs.
John Metz, owner and CEO of RREMC Restaurants, LLC said that he plans to implement the surcharge in January 2014 when the Affordable Care Act goes into effect.
“People are trying to find ways to avoid the penalties and to avoid having to pay for ObamaCare,” Metz said. “Everyone’s looking for a way to not have to provide insurance for their employees. It’s essentially a huge tax on all us business people.”
Next week, Metz said he will inform his staff of over 1,200 employees that their hours will be cut back to 30 hours a week.
“I want to explain it to everybody, to let them know what’s coming down the pike,” he said. “We like to keep our employees informed.”
Even though some of his employees may have to pick up an additional job, Metz said that he just can’t afford to cover the costs of ObamaCare.
“I have a choice: try to live within the rules, or go out of business,” he said.
Metz has been in the restaurant industry for almost 40 years.
Currently, employers with over 50 full-time employees will face a penalty charge if over 30 full-time staffers are not insured. Since Metz, has an average of 35 full-time employees at each restaurant, the $2,000 fine can total up to $70,000 per location.
Metz said he spends $6,000 per full-time employee annually while providing coverage to about 250 employees.
“It’s going to be a big issue for all of us—for my employees and for me,” he said. “The ones that are working more than 28 hours, they’re going to act as if I’m cutting their hours and they’ll have to find another job.”
At Metz’ Denny’s restaurants, the average check is $9. His proposed surcharge will add 45 cents onto the bill. At Hurricane Grill and Wings, the average customer bill of $14.50 will be subject to a surcharge of 72 cents.