CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. – Inflation is wreaking havoc on the wallets of people all across the United States and taking a toll on small businesses too.
One Coral Springs restaurant is going viral on social media for their solution: an eight percent inflation fee added on to every bill.
On Sunday, a customer posted a picture of her check from the Ramblewood Diner on Facebook with the caption “I received my breakfast at the Ramblewood Diner in Coral Springs and noticed an 8 percent fee for ‘temporary inflation.’”
The comments on the post range from calling the fee “abusive” and “ridiculous,” to “reasonable” and “creative.”
“We’re not trying to get rich,” said Ramblewood Diner manager, Laura Bertrand. “We are just trying to stay afloat.”
Bertrand told Local 10 News they implemented the fee on July 9, and posted a notice about it on their front door a day earlier.
“With the increase in all of the prices from the takeout boxes, to the delivery fees, it’s very, very tough, it’s hard,” said Bertrand. “We needed to do something without changing the menu prices.”
Bertrand said the restaurant’s electric bill us up $800 from the same time last year, and the water bill is up $500. She said they did consider changing prices initially, but came to the conclusion that reprinting the six-page, full-color menus would end up costing too much. They also like that this fee can be removed as quickly as it was added.
“Menu changes are permanent, you can’t keep going up and down and up and down,” Bertrand explained. “Hopefully it’s temporarily and when inflation comes down, gas gets to like $3.50 per gallon, we can take the fee off.”
The reasoning made complete sense to some regular customers, like Jan Hunt, who said she’s happy they’re at least being transparent about it.
“Everywhere else I go is more than eight percent,” said Hunt. “Eight percent is nothing, they should be thanking them for only charging eight percent!”
Others, like Susie and Larry Kessler, said they didn’t love the fee, but were not necessarily frustrated with it either.
“It’s hitting us and hitting them so they’ve got to do what they’ve got to do and hopefully they can survive it and things get back to where it’s bearable,” said Larry Kessler.
“I don’t like it, but it is reasonable. I understand why they’re doing it,” added Susie Kessler.
According to the National Restaurant Association, 91 percent of restaurant operators in the U.S. report their food costs are higher than they were pre-COVID. In fact, they say wholesale food prices are up 13.4 percent in the last 12 months, the highest 12-month increase in nearly 50 years.
“You’ve got to go back to the 1980′s to see the level of inflation that we’ve had in the last little while,” said FIU College of Business Professor, Dr. Deanna Butchey.
Butchey explains during times of high inflation, businesses can pass along some of the costs to consumers to prevent running out of cash.
In March, Uber and Lyft added similar charges on rides and deliveries to help cover rising fuel costs, but Butchey said the Ramblewood Diner’s “inflation fee” is unique.
“People know that there’s a higher cost that someone has to pass on but I do not think that will be the norm,” she said.