Portland restaurant adds health care surcharge

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by Joe Smith, KGW Business Reporter

kgw.com

Posted on August 22, 2013 at 5:53 AM

Updated Thursday, Aug 22 at 5:56 AM

PORTLAND -- A Southeast Portland restaurant is asking customers to help pay for its workers’ health insurance with a five percent surcharge.

Diners at Biwa, on Southeast 9th Avenue, are notified when they sit down and before they order that the surcharge has been added to help provide owner Gabe Rosen’s 22 employees with continued coverage.

Rosen told KGW he has been providing the health insurance since January, 2012. But he said the price this year went up ten percent and he needed to offset that cost.

He said he could have simply raised the prices, but he wanted to highlight the fact that service industry jobs don’t always provide such benefits.

“Especially in Portland, a place that celebrates its independent restaurants, that celebrates its sustainability of life and culture,” he said.

Rosen said the move was in no way a political statement about the Affordable Health Care Act, in fact he said he supports it.

He also said feedback has been generally positive. And tips have not gone down as a result of the surcharge.


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