MINNEAPOLIS -- Next time you head out to dinner or lunch you might want to do a double take at your receipt.
More restaurants are adding a “health and wellness charge” to help offset the rising costs of health insurance.
Owners of the Travail Collective are the latest to join this new trend.
Earlier this week, the company started charging a 3 percent fee at both its restaurants, Travail Kitchen and Amusements and The Pig Ate My Pizza in Robbinsdale.
“We’ve always had it on the check, but you just didn’t see it,” co-owner Mike Brown says.
The new charge went over well, Brown says, because clients at their restaurants are largely sympathetic to their goal of offering employees affordable health care, but many were confused about what it was.
“We feel that making sure our people are taken care of is the most important thing in our company,” Brown explains.
This health and wellness charge isn't exactly new here in the Twin Cities.
“We started doing it last June,” Kim Bartmann explains.
Bartmann’s company, The Bartmann Group, owns and operates nine restaurants in the Twin Cities.
She says the 3 percent charge covers about 70 percent of the company’s employee health plan.
“I have been subsidizing health insurance since 1993, covering 100 percent of their health insurance, but due to rising costs I’m now covering 70 percent thanks in part to this charge,” Bartmann explains.
Bartmann says she got the idea after hearing about it in other markets.
She’s hoping the idea will catch on here in the Twin Cities.
“A lot of small businesses don’t think they can afford it, and I know not every industry can get away with a 3 percent charge like this, but for us, this little 3 percent really does cover most of it.”
This week is Restaurant Week in the Twin Cities.
More than 70 restaurants are offering discounted lunches and dinners now through Oct. 19.