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Florida restauranteur to impose surcharge for ObamaCare

Get ready to pay more for your Grand Slam.

A Florida restaurateur who operates roughly 40 Denny’s locations and five Hurricane Grill & Wings franchises throughout the state intends to add a 5 percent surcharge to customers’ bills to offset costs from ObamaCare beginning in January 2014 when the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented.

“People are trying to find ways to avoid the penalties and to avoid having to pay for ObamaCare,” John Metz told “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.”

To further offset the costs, Metz, who oversees roughly 1,200 employees as president and CEO of RREMC Restaurants, LLC, said he also will slash most of the staff’s time to fewer than 30 hours per week. That change will be announced to employees next month, he said.

“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.”

The changes will force some front-of-the-house employees to look for second jobs, Metz said, but he simply cannot afford the penalties associated with ObamaCare.

“I have a choice: try to live within the rules, or go out of business.”

– John Metz, Florida restaurateur

“It’s a great concept,” he said. “We want to have everyone insured. The problem is, who is going to pay for it and how are we going to accomplish this?”

Under the current law, employers with more than 50 full-time (or equivalent) workers will be charged a penalty for the number of employees exceeding 30 full-time staffers who are not covered. With an average of 35 full-time employees per location, Metz said the $2,000 penalty would total roughly $70,000 per restaurant. Current coverage costs Metz up to $6,000 annually per full-time employee, he said. He currently provides coverage to about 250 employees.

“It’s going to be a big issue for all of us — for my employees and for me,” said Metz, who has been in the industry since 1975. “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 Denny’s restaurants operated by Metz, the average check is $9, he said, meaning the ObamaCare surcharge if implemented would be 45 cents on that bill. At Hurricane Grill & Wings locations, where the average bill is $14.50, the surcharge would total 72 cents.

Metz said he believes the entire restaurant industry — even high-end locations — will ultimately embrace the idea.

“That is what I foresee and that is the easier, least painful way to deal with these added costs,” he said. “In a true playing field, everybody will impose this, from McDonald’s to Denny’s to even maybe the fine dining restaurants in order to have the funds to be able to pay for either insurance or the penalty for not providing insurance to their employees.”

Metz also is urging his employees to consider contacting their local elected officials in hopes of finding another solution to offset his looming increased costs.

“It’s never good news, but it is what it is,” Metz said of increasing customers’ checks. “We really should look for a better or different way to pay for [ObamaCare]. I think what we’re going to ultimately see here is a European-type system where we have a value added tax or a national sales tax.”

Metz continued: “I have a choice: try to live within the rules, or go out of business.”

Read more:
Miller, Joshua R. “Florida Restaurateur to Impose Surcharge for ObamaCare.” Fox News, 15 Nov. 2012. Web. 15 Nov. 2012. <>.


  1. Laila Owies November 15, 2012

    Compare $ 70,000 fine with how much money you profit /year. An increase of 5% will make you go out of business?. Is that is mean your profit is equivelant to that. Your article, and those people , big position in big places..what they want to find an excuse to increase theire profits. Also, they will not have all the loopies ( by the republicans) that allow them to pay less than their employees in taxes. They are one of the top 2%. When he cuts ( CEO) the # of employees or make them a part time..that tell them I do not care about serve me to make more money. So, what if they 2 jobs..A person working 40 hours in one place, will work 28 hours in one, and 10-15 hours in another one. If the employees do not listen to that threat, sooner the employers will find he/she has to hire full time people. I used to work in a good know pharmaceutical company, the used to increas the premium medical, every single year. They layed off people over a period for at least the passed 20 years. My daughter is an average income, and she pay her medical part of $200/month. I live in a social security income..and I pay a total of $300/month ( medicare, supplemental, and prescription drugs). For me it is better than the voucher that suggested by Romney. Criticizing Obama became a full time job for your non sense..and your lies to the people by twisting facts.

  2. Windy November 15, 2012

    Well, “everyone” ought to be ashamed of themselves for doing everything that they can to avoid providing health insurance for their employees. That is so pathetic and wrong.

  3. Windy November 15, 2012

    Laila, some good points there. Obama knows about these employers and their profits. He knows that they simply do not care to provide health insurance for most of their employees and yet people who need flexible schedules and don’t have a degree or are working their way through college, are single parents, etc., will work those jobs to make a living (however meager).
    Obama’s plan for healthcare essentially forces businesses to stop being greedy heartless uncaring profit-driven a*holes and provide health insurance to their employees. Why? Because they have to be forced. They won’t be “good” on their own. That’s right, decent, caring human beings will provide for their employee’s health insurance but uncaring, greedy heartless CEOs will NOT. Obama is basically saying this is America and all Americans deserve to have healthcare coverage so be a good human being and provide it.

  4. michael November 16, 2012

    You libs ought to be ashamed of yourselves. you automaitcally assume that the business owner is trying to not provide insurance and just make more profit. why don’t you find out more information first before you jump to assumptions. Under Obamacare our insurance rates have gone up and our company pays 50% of the premium for all 3000 employees. you keep knocking the republicans for their take on healthcare reform. what Obama has done is not health care reform but forced the American people to purchase healthcare insurance or face a penalty. a healthcare that if you take time to read the fine print takes away a lot of a persons right to quality healthcare. there is a provision for the socalled “death panels”. these will be run by bean counters not doctors or health care professionals. they will get to decide if someone deserves the right to certain proceedures depending on their age and survivabilty. the list goes on and on. you make the argument that this is just a ploy to make more money. let me see you open a company and pay the new premium cost and still stay market competitive and turn a profit so you can stay in business.

  5. Laila Owies November 16, 2012

    First: I am not ashamed of my self at all. I was never, and I will be ever ashame of my self you or any one else say so, because I disagree with him/her in an isuue or many issues. Second: What I said was in general regarding their ideas of how to compensate the higher premium. But, you make it very personal, by addressing me. You can tell me yours ( or republican point of view) without the first line in your reply??. I do not think this is the way that people talk to each others. I know there are many have the same opinion as me, and of course there are many share your view. So far, I read the names of CEO of different companies/firms, and one of them is a well know pharmaceutical company. And they did many lay off over the years, and trasferring the manufacture to places where labor is cheap, regardless in exchange they will lay off one or more than American. I am not saying it is a wrong tactic..but, it should be a limit of shipping jobs ovearseas..other wise, Americans # be out of work will increase for the company to make more money. So, the health care is not the main reason!!!. It is applied on all business people and not just you..Then all of you starting from the same point, therefore..compete. Yes, I never had a business and I will never have one..and thanks God for that..other wise, I might act like many people that I do not agree with..and I do feel that I did something wrong. Believe I read about OHC..And what I do not know (may say is not clear to me).What is Romney’s idea/plan regarding the health insurance?. And the voucher that he was talking it a yearly voucher use it, till no more money in it?. Voucher will be according to the salary..or # of people household?. Are people allow either the voucher or join the health care provided by the employer?. Parent can cover their children up to 23 years. How about the retired sen?. I think you will agree with Obama about health care, if he will not increase the taxes on the top 1-2% of people. Please, do not reply to me ..if you will going to use your style of expression, and words for discussion..What IREALY wish..that US economy regained, unemployment down, every one has a health care by some way or another..Simply, because average people like me paid, and I am still paying for them when they go to the emergency room..and pay zero. The rich people have their ways of claiming the deduction, and most propably they will be in 12-15% why they care?.

  6. Windy November 18, 2012

    Please point me to the area in the actual Affordable Care Act that discusses the “death panels” however they are referred to. I would like to review it.

  7. Windy November 18, 2012

    Indeed it would have been MOST helpful if Romney had presented a detailed plan on his healthcare proposal and answered questions about it which were posed by thousands, perhaps millions of Americans. I was a resident of Massachusetts when there was a healthcare mandate and it was the best insurance I ever had.
    Obama proposed a detailed healthcare plan and took actions to make sure that a plan was implemented. It covers a lot of ground and frightens a lot of people but if people are going to be very critical of the plan it is best to have the details of a better plan to provide us.

  8. Charlie November 18, 2012

    download the bill here: do a search in adobe reader for “panels” there are several “ethics panels” formed under this legislation from early childhood education to Medicare…scary stuff