Restaurants Are Being Harassed by Rude Customers for Adding Coronavirus Surcharges

Some customers have inexplicably taken it upon themselves to make a bad time even worse for restaurants that are just trying to survive

Coronavirus Surcharges
Please relax, restaurants are just trying to survive.
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By Kayla Kibbe / May 15, 2020 11:34 am

I think we can all agree that this has been a bad time for everyone, and a particularly bad time for restaurants. Unfortunately for some of those restaurants, certain rude customers don’t seem to care.

In an attempt to make up for rising meat prices — which, yes, is yet another pandemic-related headache already struggling restaurants now have to deal with — some establishments have tried adding a small “COVID-19 surcharge” to their orders, Vice reported. But for some customers, paying an extra $2 or so for food that employees are putting their health on the line to provide is an injustice that simply cannot be tolerated.

After one such customer took to Twitter to express her outraged confusion at being charged an additional $2.19 on her order from Kiko Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Lounge in Missouri, the restaurant was forced to explain in Facebook post that they’d introduced the temporary surcharge in response to “the rising cost of meat, seafood, poultry and produce.” While the restaurant explained that it was easier to simply add the additional charge across the board rather than adjust all prices individually, a subsequent Facebook post announced that after continued harassment from customers, the restaurant had dropped the surcharge and would instead raise individual prices.

Other restaurants have faced similar levels of abuse after instituting their own COVID surcharges. Brian Stack, the owner of Bootleggers BBQ in Missouri, told Vice he and his staff received harassing phone calls including death and arson threats after instituting a five percent surcharge. As a protein-heavy establishment, the restaurant was hard hit by surging meat prices, and Stack told Vice that even with the surcharge, the restaurant was still operating at a loss.

After the swift backlash, Stack was also forced to drop the surcharge and raise prices individually, a change that cost the already struggling restaurant an additional $300 or more to have new menus printed.

Oh, and Stack also added that the majority of the harassment wasn’t from his customers, but just from random jerks on social media. I understand that times are tough right now, but it seems like there are probably better ways to channel your frustration than threatening to burn down a restaurant of which you’re not even a customer because they are just trying to survive and keep making delicious food. Please consider this a reminder that everyone is doing the best they can under wildly bad circumstances, so maybe don’t be an asshole.

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