LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - Eyewitness News has learned that several restaurants in central Florida now charge customers more to offset the costs of the Affordable Care Act.
Ten Gator's Dockside restaurants in Lake County, Lakeland and the Jacksonville-area just tacked on a one-percent fee for customers.
The locations in Seminole, Orange and Osceola counties, as well as on Highway 27 in the Four Corners area, will not be instituting the surcharge because they’re owned by a different restaurant group.
Restaurant managers have posted signs alerting customers to the new surcharge.
"We wanted to definitely be transparent that affordable healthcare is part of the cost of doing business," said Sandra Clark, director of operations with Gator's Dockside Group.
The owners said it will help pay the healthcare costs for their 500 full-time employees.
Customers at the Clermont location had mixed reactions.
"I don't agree with it. I don't," said customer Brian Earwood.
"I don't think it's the right thing to do because, you know, you're penalizing us. But at the same time you have to pay employees and take care of them as well and I totally understand that too," said customer Mauri Carver.
The Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare, requires businesses with more than 50 full-time employees to offer affordable healthcare benefits.
Clark said her company believes the one-percent surcharge is the best solution.
"We're definitely doing it to stay afloat. It's not political in anyway. The president may have brought this agenda to forefront. It's law now and what's law made it real for us," said Clark.
Clark said the restaurant group expects to pay up to $500,000 a year for its employees' healthcare. She said the restaurant doesn't expect to come close to recouping that the total amount it must pay for government healthcare.
She said that so far her company has receive positive feedback from their customers.