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LA's Republique Defends Its 3% Health Care Surcharge

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Photo: Elizabeth Daniels / Eater LA
Hillary Dixler Canavan is Eater's restaurant editor and the author of the publication's debut book, Eater: 100 Essential Restaurant Recipes From the Authority on Where to Eat and Why It Matters (Abrams, September 2023). Her work focuses on dining trends and the people changing the industry — and scouting the next hot restaurant you need to try on Eater's annual Best New Restaurant list.

Even after incurring the wrath of Yelpers, an LA restaurant is sticking to its decision to add a 3% health care surcharge to each bill. The hotly anticipated bakery and restaurant Republique has been adding the surcharge to "pay for workers' health care" and encouraging customers to take 3% off the tip if they are dissatisfied, reports KPCC. Because the restaurant has over 50 full time employees, they are obligated under the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) to provide healthcare.

Of course, many customers are dissatisfied, and over on Yelp several reviews address the charge with one and two star reviews. Yelpers have called the surcharge "tacky" and "preposterous," and one particularly angry customer who liked the food writes: "I'll be eating somewhere else until this is revoked." Much of the complaints mirror objections to automatically including gratuities.

Chef/owner Walter Manzke tells CBS KCal that the charge helps him provide a healthcare plan to everyone on staff, including dishwashers. He says in the video below: "Even if this isn't the perfect solution, it's definitely a solution." The company has defended their decision on Facebook too, responding to one complainer who has never been to the restaurant:

"We are sorry to hear that. The surcharge is the best way to provide all of our employees, including those you don't see in the front of the house, with full benefits. We know this is different and you are welcome to take the 3% out of what you would normally tip. We hope to see you in the restaurant soon!"

Go, watch the report:

Video: Local Restaurant Adds Surcharge To Tabs To Pay For Employees' Healthcare

· Health Care Surcharge Riles Customers at Top LA Eatery [KPCC via Eater LA]
· Restaurant Adds Surcharge To Pay For Employees' Healthcare [CBS KCal]
· All Obamacare Coverage on Eater [-E-]


624 S La Brea Ave Los Angeles, CA 90036