Owner of Hurricane Grill and Denny's Charging Five Percent Surcharge to Cover Obamacare; Suggests Customers Should Tip Servers Less | Clean Plate Charlie | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida

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Owner of Hurricane Grill and Denny's Charging Five Percent Surcharge to Cover Obamacare; Suggests Customers Should Tip Servers Less

UPDATE 2:52 p.m.: Shelby Fox, of Konnect Public Relations in Los Angeles, responded on behalf of Metz with this statement:
"Despite recent media coverage, Hurricane Grill & Wings is committed to exploring viable and effective ways to deal with the changing economic climate, including the implementation of The Affordable Care Act. We have always been and will continue to be 100 percent dedicated to our employees and customers and will work tirelessly to find solutions that are in their best interests.

The interview referred to potential economic changes that will affect the restaurant industry as a whole and the comments were not politically based. Hurricane Grill & Wings supports President Obama and the revision of healthcare in this country. The only question is what the restaurant industry as a whole will do to cover the expenses.

Hurricane Grill & Wings will be implementing the 28 hour rule in all corporately owned and operated restaurants starting in Q1 of 2013. The five percent surcharge mentioned in various online outlets is pure speculation and only a potential option should the law be re-written to include full-time equivalents. The surcharge is not to be implemented or considered at this time."

John Metz, a West Palm Beach businessman whose company owns Hurricane Grill & Wings, plus Denny's franchises, and who has also been involved with Dairy Queen and Roadhouse Grill, has announced a plan to charge a five percent surcharge to cover healthcare costs for employees under the Affordable Care Act. He has also threatened to cut his employees' hours to less than 30 per week to dodge the responsibility of providing healthcare.

He told the Huffington Post that if customers don't like the five percent surcharge, they could deduct the surcharge from the tip, leaving less for the server, who is the ultimate beneficiary of so-called Obamacare.

The Affordable Care Act requires businesses that employ more than 50

full-time workers to provide insurance or else pay a surcharge of $2,000

per employee except the first 30 employees. Here's a flowchart of how it could affect various business from the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.

Metz said that to cover an employee's healthcare for the year costs him $5,000 to $6,000 and he just can't afford to do that for all of his employees.

Metz's Linked In profile indicates that in addition to being Chairman and CEO of the company that owns Hurricanes, he is president at RREMC Restaurants, which operate Denny's, Denny's Fresh Expresses, and and Dairy Queens in Virginia, Florida, and Georgia. It says he is president at Hospitality Investment Advisers, which operates hotels including the Marriott Fairfield Inn and Suites in Jupiter. He is also a managing member at Meyer Metz, which purchased Roadhouse Grill and Courtyards Senior Living.

Calls to Metz were referred to a public relations agency, which did not immediately respond to a message. Check back for updates.

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Deirdra Funcheon

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