Tough times for restaurants could boost the cost of takeout and eventually dine-in meals as some owners pass along the financial impact of extra precautions, rising food costs and fewer patrons.
Nudging prices higher is one survival strategy. A burger joint in Holland, Mich., uses an alternate approach that could be a sign of the times. Goog's Pub & Grub adds a buck to each carryout bill as a "Covid surcharge."
The move reflects "the changing dynamic of being a restaurant during this pandemic," owner Brad White posts on Facebook. He adds:
"Our beef costs have almost doubled now, along with rising costs across the board on many of the products we serve. Add that to the already thin margins we’re operating at due to loss of alcohol sales and the takeout supplies included in every bag of goodness we pass out the window, and we’re at a crossroads."
In an interview with the Fox affiliate in Grand Rapids, White says: "We're just trying to pay the bills so we can stay open until this is over. ... Other places are just raising their price and not telling you."
In a roundup Thursday on this new fee in at least a few spots around the country, a journalism site named Poynter says:
Before we get too upset with restaurants, understand that lots of businesses add surcharges for Covid-19-related problems. International shippers, for example, add surcharges on freight. Air cargo handlers have added surcharges, too.