More Restaurant Meals Now Come With a Side of Fees

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Woman looking at restaurant bill
Nicoleta Ionescu /

The next time you dine at your favorite restaurant, you might notice an unfamiliar charge on the bill.

Many restaurants are now passing on rising costs to customers in the form of a series of new charges, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The newspaper says surcharges like the following are popping up on bills at eateries from coast to coast:

  • Noncash adjustment
  • Fuel surcharge
  • Kitchen appreciation

Not only are costs rising on the goods that restaurants need to purchase just to stay open, but a shortage of available workers also is cutting into their bottom lines.

In April, Visa and Mastercard also raised the transaction fees they charge many merchants, the WSJ says.

Over the past year, fee revenue at restaurants has nearly doubled, and the number of restaurants adding service fees has jumped by more than 36%, according to the WSJ, which cites research from point-of-sale software developer Lightspeed.

Some restaurants try particularly hard to keep their diners from suffering indigestion upon discovering these fees.

Denver-based Bonanno Concepts, which owns restaurants such as Mizuna and Denver Milk Market, tries to soften the blow by calling its surcharge the “Creating Happy People Fee.”

David Burke, a chef who operates 19 restaurants, mostly in New York and New Jersey, told Nation’s Restaurant News his restaurants have discovered that adding fees does not necessarily mean losing customers:

“We learned that you can charge for bread — good bread — you can charge for water and you can charge for credit card processing fees.”

Looking for ways to cut your costs when dining out? Read:

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