Get out your wallets.
The COVID-19 pandemic has already cost more than 35 million Americans their jobs, and now everything’s about to cost more, too (some stuff already does).
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last week that the month of April saw the sharpest increase in grocery store prices in nearly 50 years. Across the country, the supply chain has been severely affected by the pandemic, with prices rising on simple staples such as eggs, rice, flour, milk and meat.
And some restaurants have started to pass that cost off to consumers. Like Harold’s Chicken in Chicago. The restaurant began adding a “COVID-19 fee,” a surcharge of 26%, to all bills, CBS-2 in Chicago reported.
“Restaurant manager Jacquelyn Santana said their food suppliers raised their prices by 26 percent on Saturday ‘due to the COVID pandemic,'” the station reported.
The restaurant’s owner told us a case of chicken wings, for example, jumped from $60 to $90, and the restaurant had no choice but to pass on some of the increase to customers.
“We’re trying to keep other employees employed, including myself. We are just opening up so we really need to be able to makes ends meet,” Santana said.
But the reaction from customers was not good, and the restaurant decided to drop the surcharge. ‘We’re actually trying to figure out how else we can make up for those losses that we’ve had so far,” Santana said.
Harold’s isn’t the only restaurant to add a COVID-19 fee. A restaurant in Missouri last week enacted a $2.19 coronavirus “surcharge,” which also prompted a backlash on social media.
The owner, Pilly Yuzar, previously told Fox News that “he decided to add the surcharge to offset the rising costs of food from his suppliers, instead of raising menu across the board, with no explanation as to why.”
Social media teed off on the idea that restaurants and other businesses could be tacking on surcharges for the coronavirus.
“Scuse me … what? A covid surcharge…?” one Twitter user wrote in a post showing a receipt from the Kiko Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Lounge that included a “covid 19 surcharge.”
‘Scuse me … what? A covid surcharge…? pic.twitter.com/IYcrkcqIJ3
— Talia (@talialikeitis) May 11, 2020
Kiko’s Steakhouse posted a message on Facebook explaining the charge.
“We are not trying to hide this surcharge, we choose this option rather than changing our prices on our menu, this way we can adjust the surcharge weekly,” the restaurant wrote. “We’ve been putting flyers in front of our restaurant & put the surcharge on your receipt, today we put more signage. Please understand we cant control the rising cost of meat, seafood, poultry & produce prices.”
But still, people aren’t happy.
“If I ever see this on a bill I wld not pay it,” wrote another person on Twitter. “I’m tryin to recoup too. Who am I suppose to bill ??? Is this even legal?”
Fox News said the fee is popping up all over.
In San Diego, a Mexican restaurant announced it was charging $1 extra for carne asada due to a meat shortage and in Michigan, a burger place is adding another dollar to each meal because of foot traffic they’ve lost, according to FOX 17 in Grand Rapids and KFMB-TV in San Diego.
And it’s not just restaurants. A dentist’s office in Jacksonville, Fla., reportedly started charging a $10 per appointment fee for personal protective equipment, and in Texas some hair salons have started adding a $3 sanitation charge, according to KTRK-TV in Houston.
The Daily Wire, headed by bestselling author and popular podcast host Ben Shapiro, is a leading provider of conservative news, cutting through the mainstream media’s rhetoric to provide readers the most important, relevant, and engaging stories of the day. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member.