A Toronto restaurant found a unique approach to employee benefits funding.
The restaurant began adding a 3% surcharge to each bill, with the funds to be used only to help provide employees with health and dental benefits.
Co-owner Heather Mee, was quoted in a May 2017 Benefits Canada article as saying, the surcharge was a “…more honest and transparent way” of funding the employee benefits.
In fact, there will be a separate item on each bill that is easily tracked and accountable so that it cannot be entered into the restaurant owner’s pockets.
The sole purpose for the bill surcharge is to provide a means of self funding employee benefits costs.
According to Mee, the average restaurant diner will spend less than $15 on a meal. This means that the surcharge for the benefits plan for each meal amounts to less than $0.50. As well, Mee states that diners who wish not to contribute will be allowed to opt out of the surcharge.
Aside from helping to cover health and dental, the employee benefits plan also covers services such as orthotics, massage therapy, and life insurance.
Mee acknowledges that the proceeds raised from the restaurant bill surcharge won’t cover all the expenses so the restaurant will pick up the balance.
In a market where few restaurants even offer benefits (because industry margins are minuscule and raising meal prices can be risky for the business), Mee admits that for her restaurant, this employee benefits funding alternative was a no brainer. Happy employees stay longer. And, many long-time restaurant customers are happy to contribute if it means helping the employees.
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