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A struggling restaurant charged a 'pandemic tax.' All the Karens got upset.

In an effort to off-set increasing prices of meat and produce, Missouri's Kiko Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Lounge added a completely legal surcharge to their bill.

A struggling restaurant charged a 'pandemic tax.' All the Karens got upset.
Image Source: talialikeitis / Twitter

Thousands of restaurants across the United States are struggling to stay afloat amidst the ongoing pandemic. Thousands still have been forced to close as they did not qualify for loans from the federal government. Though some attempted to complete pick-up and delivery orders, establishments took a deep hit due to a steep decrease in demand. Meanwhile, those still serving customers have had to invest in supplies of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Therefore, it comes as no surprise that one Missouri restaurant would charge a "pandemic tax." After a Twitter user posted a photo of her receipt, the social media platform went wild.

 



 

The photo Twitter user Talialikeitis uploaded clearly marks the $2.19 "COVID-19 surcharge." She asked, "Scuse me... What? A surcharge...?" While some would argue that by eating out a customer is helping a restaurant stay open, and therefore a tax only penalizes those offering their business, others disagree. Many have argued that the surcharge is a small price to pay to help a small business keep their doors open during this period of recession. One Twitter user responded, "I’m NO fan of surcharging but for now can we all help small businesses? [The] government is forcing them to run at nonprofitable capacities to open to serve us. [My wife and I] are foodies and we want them to recover. We also are tipping 25 percent if we dine in until they are allowed to run [at] 75 percent capacity."

 



 

 

Others pointed out that the surcharge was probably implemented as a way to combat the increasing costs of food supplies and to pay for PPE. As one user highlighted, "They have extra costs they need to cover. Food costs more. Extra gloves, chemicals, masks. Someone pays for that and it's the consumer. Eat at home if it's a problem." Eventually, it was discovered that the restaurant charging the tax was Kiko Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Lounge in Missouri. Once they saw that their receipt had gone viral, they decided to take to Facebook to tackle the complaints they have received and set the record straight.

 



 

"Please understand we are not doing this to take advantage of you guys!" They wrote. "We are doing this hoping we can adjust the surcharge weekly rather than just raise all of our prices on our menu due to increased prices from our supplier on meat, poultry, seafood, and produce. Almost all of us here [are] getting our supply through the same supplier. So why are we the ones that [are] being harassed? Stop calling my employees [names]! They are just working there, go ask the meatpacker, not us! We are just buying it from them! Somewhere high up, the food supply chain is broken and causing [the] prices [to] go up." The restaurant announced that it would no longer add a surcharge, but would instead hike up prices.

 



 

After the post was uploaded, several Facebook users wrote in to apologize for other people's bad behavior. One user commented, "I’m so sorry people are being awful. I wish they understood how broken the food supply chain is in our country right now. We ordered one of your family plates as well as the specialty sushi platter yesterday and it was amazing! We knew about the extra charge ahead of time and were glad to pay for the service you all provide. Thank you for making my Mother’s Day extra special with your great food! I hope people relax and treat you all with love and respect." While not everyone can afford to eat out during this challenging time, if you can, let's ensure that those working to make your food get paid a fair wage and are treated with respect.

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