Minnesota restaurants raised tabs to cover health insurance

Published 9:56 pm Thursday, July 27, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS — A group of Minneapolis restaurants is planning to charge customers more in an effort to offset the rising cost of health insurance for employees.

Restaurant owner Kim Bartmann has decided to add a 3 percent surcharge to customers’ tabs starting Friday, the Star Tribune reported . Restaurants affected include Barbette, Red Stag, Bryant Lake Bowl, Pat’s Tap, Tiny Diner and The Bird.

Bartmann said she’s being clear about the surcharge and its purpose instead of subtly raising prices on menu items.

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“It’s merely a way. … to be transparent,” she said.

Bartmann said she doubts the added charge will cause customers to cut down on the amount they order or to tip less.

“We think our customers will appreciate knowing that our workers have good quality, affordable health insurance,” she said.

She said her restaurants can’t keep up with the increasing cost of health insurance.

Bartmann has offered health care coverage to anyone working 25 hours or more at her restaurants since 1993. Staff can choose between four different health care plans and also receive dental coverage. Staff and management split the premium cost evenly.

Many restaurants don’t offer insurance and Bartmann’s employees often thank her for offering health insurance, she said.