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Happy For Your Restaurants To Be Open? Get Ready For A ‘COVID FEE’

Covid Surcharge COVID-19 RestaurantsShutterstock

Reading Time: 4 minutes

You may have noticed at the bottom of your receipts lately, there is a small charge of a few dollars labeled “Covid Surcharge.” And if you haven’t noticed, you are probably going to check all of your receipts right now. What is causing some businesses to implement this surcharge in the wake of a global pandemic?

The Prices Of Certain Goods From Suppliers Have Gone Up

If you have been to the grocery store during the COVID-19 pandemic, you have witnessed limits on certain items, cleared shelves and total madness. There has also been a noticeable increase in prices of certain foods like meat and poultry. This not only effects grocery shoppers but restaurants as well. Meat suppliers are just charging more for meat in general. For many restaurants, the “Covid Surcharge” is a way to compensate for the higher price they are paying for meat. The price of meat has increased by over 8% just in the month of April alone.


One Twitter user wrote “Restaurant owners set their prices based on their costs. This includes rent, meats, produce, wages, etc. When any of these costs go up it eats into their profit margin. Since the cost of meats and produce have gone up they had no choice but to implement a TEMPORARY surcharge.” Whether it’s one dollar or a few dollars, restaurants are doing everything that they can to stay open. If that means charging an extra few dollars as opposed to raising their menu prices, then that’s what they will continue to do.

This ‘Covid Surcharge’ Has Garnered Mixed Reviews

Famous television chef Robert Irvine said in a tweet that he does not think this is “a good idea at all.” Considering Robert owns several restaurants, his opinion on the matter is particularly interesting. Another Twitter user replied to the comment and said “I’m not eating at a restaurant with a “Covid” surcharge. That’s flat. We’re small biz folk too, who did our part to support local restaurants via take out etc. Now they want to charge me a fee? Yikes.” Supporting local businesses during this time is especially important considering they make their money from locals. If a charge of a few dollars turns people off from supporting them completely, these businesses might be in trouble.

But other people were more understanding during these tough times. Another Twitter user said “Not sure why this is so hard for people to understand. If you want restaurants to be open after COVID-19 is over, we need to support them and the people who work there. They have bills too. Prices have exploded for them.” This sheds light on the fact that the restaurant and service industry has been hit extremely hard during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because they couldn’t stay open for sit-down meals, many of them still provided takeout options to keep their businesses afloat. But in the meantime, most restaurant workers are out of work and relying on unemployment.


Another tweet said, “If you cannot afford to pay the minimal “Covid Surcharge” you surely should not be paying to eat at restaurants in the first place.” This does make complete sense considering people are only being charged an extra few dollars. If those extra few dollars can help save a business during a tough time, would you pay it?

One Restaurant Experienced Harassment For The Extra Charge

Kiko Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Lounge in West Plains, Missouri is one of the many restaurants in that area that imposed this charge. The 5% increase in the bill was to help compensate for the increase in prices of not only meat but fish and vegetables as well. The restaurant Facebook page put out a post that says “Recently our employees been getting harassed due to some peoples miss-use the actual picture of our receipt from our actual customer that being going around on social media, even trending on twitter due to the surcharge title!” Harassment is very uncalled for in this scenario over a few dollars. Perhaps instead, people should ask the suppliers why the prices are going up so much in the first place.


The post continued “We are doing this hoping we can adjust the surcharge weekly rather than just raise all of our prices on our menu due to increased prices from our supplier on meat, poultry, seafood & produce. Almost all of us here are getting our supply through the same supplier. So why are we the ones that being harassed??!! Stop calling names to my employees!! They are just working there, go ask the meatpacker not us!!” Other places like Hutchins BBQ took to Twitter to announce that they would be increasing the prices not heir brisket due to beef pricing having skyrocketed.

It seems like more and more businesses will start to charge this fee if the price of supplier goods continues to increase. But, this surcharge is only temporary as businesses attempt to get back on their feet and adapt to the changing economy. It would certainly be a different case if popular food chains loaded with money imposed such a charge. That would be a blatant ripoff. But, these local restaurants need all the help they can get right now.

Have you experienced paying this “Covid Surcharge” where you live?

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