DENVER (CBS4) – Restaurant patrons might want to take a closer look at their next bill as some are adding a charge they’ve probably never seen before.

Double D’s Sourdough Pizza is a family owned business, serving hot New York style slices to customers. But these days there’s something other than pizza on their menu.

“I looked at the bottom and it was like ticket shock,” a customer said.

“It’s interesting, I’ve never heard about it before,” another customer said.

It’s not an ingredient they’re talking about, but rather a 5 percent surcharge added to customers’ bills to help cover the cost employees’ health care.

“They need it, it enriches their lives. We all know what it’s like to be worried about paying bills and our medical bills,” Double D’s owner Ted Dorr said.

Dorr says it’s is not a political statement or reaction to Obamacare.

“We’ve been wanting to give our employees insurance since we first opened from the very beginning,” Dorr said. “The last seven years have been pretty tough. It just took a while to finally get it into play.”

Dorr says the money will be used to pay for half of the health care costs of all employees, both full- and part-time.

“I know that myself and the rest of the staff really appreciate that Ted and Cindy (his wife) took it upon themselves to kind of help us have a solution to the problem,” an employee said.

This idea isn’t new. Restaurants throughout California already have similar surcharges in place.

“I think it’s more a necessity than a political statement,” University of Colorado Denver business professor Cliff Young said.

Young says the added surcharge is simple way to offset health care costs and thinks more restaurants will be using it in the future.

“I think it will be predominantly in service workers like restaurants,” Young said. “I don’t think it will be that much in retail.”

Customers are reacting differently to the newest item on the menu.

“I really don’t care, I know what I’m paying,” a customer said.

“The total cost of the actual food that we ate was $30. The employee health care was only $1.51,” customer Bonnie Bell said.

For Bell the pizza’s taste was spoiled by the bill’s arrival.

“I don’t think that it should be shoved in people’s faces like this,” Bell said.

People in Florida may soon be grumbling as restaurants there are starting to add the charges as well.


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