A new service charge is making its way onto restaurant receipts to offset the cost of COVID-19-related expenses.
El Segundo Sol at Fashion Show Mall, Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab at the Forum Shops at Caesars, and Mon Ami Gabi at Paris Las Vegas now add on a 4 percent surcharge. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that the charge on a guest check reads: “To help offset restrictions on our business resulting from the COVID-19 crisis, a 4% surcharge has been added to all guest checks. If you would like this removed, please let us know.”
Parent company Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises out of Chicago says the added cost of personal protection equipment, new sanitation practices, the rising price of food, and 50 percent occupancy forced the company to add the new surcharge. Lettuce Entertain You president R.J. Melman tells the newspaper that the optional surcharge is “a necessary step during a time when unanticipated costs have jeopardized the survival of our business.”
Last year, Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab landed the top spot among Las Vegas restaurants in Restaurant Business magazine’s list of top grossing independent restaurants in the country. The magazine estimated the restaurant made $22,264,200 in sales with a $77 average check and 260,000 covers in 2018, landing in the No. 18 spot on the list
The new surcharge doesn’t just find its way onto restaurant bills on the Strip. Tacoman Grille, a Henderson Mexican restaurant, and Roberto’s Tacos also started adding a surcharge for beef. Tacoman charges an additional $2 for any beef items ordered on its menu.
Since 2016, restaurants such as Beer Park, Hexx Kitchen & Bar, and Alexxa’s Bar at Paris Las Vegas, Cabo Wabo Cantina at the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Resort, and Chayo Mexican Kitchen & Tequila Bar at the Linq Promenade added a concession and franchise fee to their customers’ bills. The fees fall in the neighborhood of 4.7 to 4.85 percent tacked on to the bill, and then taxed. JRS Hospitality owns all of those venues, and a spokesperson for the company at the time said the charges “partially offset increasing operations and labor costs in the high-impact resort corridor.