Customers Outraged When They See What Owner Added To Restaurant Receipt

A new trend is sweeping the nation's restaurants, and customers are having none of it.

Since the minimum wage of hospitality and retail workers underwent a welcome raise, a number of restaurant chains have voiced their displeasure. The Oceanaire, a high-class seafood chain owned by multi-million-dollar corporation ‘Landry’s’, has been criticized after a number of diners noticed that the restaurant was explicitly placing a 3% surcharge on their meals to cover “higher minimum wage rates.”

A diner was left confused and outraged after they noticed that a 3% surcharge was tacked onto their bill at ‘The Oceanaire’ in DC. The message from management read “Due to the rising costs of doing business in this location, including costs associated with higher minimum wage rates, a 3% surcharge has been added to your bill.” The post, accompanied by the receipt, was shared to a local blog Popville, where it quickly gained traction. “Just raise the prices,” one reader commented. “If you don’t agree with DC labor laws or the cost of rent, then leave. Take your political statement and shove it.”

Readers continued to criticize Landry’s restaurant group for using the tax to make their political statement, with many highlighting that the CEO of the group, Tilman Fertitta, has a net worth of $3 billion. Another commenter noted, “I’m happy to pay a little more so the people who work hard to make Oceanaire’s owner rich can make a decent living.” The same user then added, “I am not happy to eat at restaurants whose owners have such clear contempt for their staff.”

After the backlash the restaurant group received, a spokesperson for the group released the following statement, defending their surcharge but agreeing to remove it:

“Due to the restaurant industry’s competitive market, we decided this was a temporary and nominal surcharge. The Oceanaire is committed to being transparent with our patrons and noted the surcharge on our menu, the customer’s bill and signage in the restaurant. In response to recent feedback, we have chosen to remove this surcharge effective immediately and will explore more traditional means to address the industry’s rising costs, such as raising menu prices.”

Landry’s CEO, Mr. Fertitta, also commented on the issue, claiming he was unaware of the surcharge from the very beginning:

“With more than 500 properties, I rely upon the decisions of others to help run my day to day operations for Landry’s. Unfortunately, I was not made aware of the surcharge that was put in place at my Oceanaire restaurants and the management team has been reprimanded. I ask that all customers who still have their receipt, please return to their nearest location and we will happily refund the surcharge amount. This additional cost has been removed from all Landry’s restaurants effective immediately.”

Landry’s group and the Oceanaire group are not the only restaurants receiving backlash for charging their patrons a minimum wage fee, with a restaurant in Minnesota named ‘The Oasis’ charging customers an extra $0.35 with their meal. One customer was quick to point out the flaws of the charge, stating, "You're essentially blaming customers for the increase when you charge for it the way you do." Other customers across both restaurants were eager to suggest alternatives to the surcharge, pointing out that the best way to offset the rising costs is to increase menu prices.

Source: Eater
Photo: YouTube, Brian via Popville

Customers were outraged by the surcharge.

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