'We Are All Hurting': Restaurants Are Adding 'Inflation Fees' to Customers' Bills Several restaurants across the country are adding 8%-10% fees to checks as inflation costs pummel the industry.
Inflation has affected so many facets of everyday life for Americas, with prices rising dramatically in a number of areas from ticket prices to the grocery store.
In the restaurant industry, inflation has been exceptionally worrisome, as the cost of materials and supplies has also skyrocketed, making the operations of running a restaurant a more expensive feat than in years past.
To combat these rising costs, diners across the country have been seeing a brow-raising charge added to their checks upon finishing meals: Inflation fees.
One restaurant in Coral Springs, Florida, made a wave on social media recently after a customer posted a photo of her receipt to Facebook which included an 8% fee for "temporary inflation."
Many took to the comments to talk about the check from the Ramblewood Diner, some arguing that restaurants should aim to start raising overall menu prices in general instead of tacking on an extra fee. The Sun-Sentinel reported the post has more than 1200 comments.
"If you upped the price of items on menu by a couple cents consumers would be more understanding but if I sit down and order food and then see this extra charge, we'll you can bet I won't pay it," one Facebook user wrote.
"It is a hidden fee so it should not happen and the restaurant is wrong for doing that," another said. "Change the menu or at the least it should be posted on the entrance door in bold print and the waitstaff should inform you before ordering. Again we all are hurting from inflation so they shouldn't hide the cost and it is selfish of the business because if and when people see it they may short that from the waiter's tip."
Others, however, were more understanding.
"I'm totally OK with this. Restaurants are struggling to keep their doors open," one customer lamented. "Between covid & inflation I am sad to see how many locally owned and operated businesses have closed."
The Ramblewood Diner is not the only restaurant charging "inflation fees" in the U.S.
The Sunset Grill in Goochland, Virginia also made a stir on social media when a customer noticed a note about inflation fees at the top of the restaurant's menu.
"With the skyrocketing costs of goods, materials & labor, we have found it necessary to add a 3.5% inflation fee in lieu of consistently raising menu prices," the menu reads. "We hope you understand."
Similarly, Che Fico, a San Francisco-based eatery, has also upped fees for customers by adding a 10% inflation fee to bills amid rising costs.
"What we could have done when we came back from quarantine is just up the prices of everything, but the 10% dine-in charge was meant to start a conversation with people and say, 'This is part of the true cost of running a restaurant in the city,'" Tom Folsom, the lead sommelier at Che Fico, told the San Francisco Chronicle. "Our owners care greatly about the entire staff here. This goes to provide a ton of stuff for us"
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, full-service restaurant menu prices in the U.S. have skyrocketed an estimated 8.7% in the last year, while food away from home (which includes school lunches) has shot up 7.2% in a one-year period.
This comes into direct concordance with the fact that supplies and labor costs are also skyrocketing, with wholesale food prices up an estimated 17% in the last year, a nearly 50-year record high.
Wage rates for non-supervisor-level workers in hospitality have also increased by around 13% since last year.
While everyone is struggling with rising costs, both customers and restaurant owners can agree: It's becoming tougher to find a solution that will keep restaurants open while also keeping their customer's wallets happy.