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Jacksonville Gator's Dockside locations adding on health care surcharge

12:41 AM, Feb 22, 2014   |    comments
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Story written by Roger Weeder, First Coast News

(First Coast News) JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- One Florida restaurant chain with four locations on the First Coast is asking customers to help them defray the cost of new health care expenses.

Gator's Dockside is ushering in what it calls a 1 percent health care surcharge to each bill to help cover in part expenses that are associated with the Affordable Care Act.

"We love our employees ... made our decision to be able to keep them full time and add on 1 percent," said Sara Cipparone with the chain's corporate office in Orlando.

Cipparone said the new charge is spelled out both at the front door and at the table before the waiter takes orders.

The goal she says is not to cut hours so employees don't have to work several part-time jobs.

The surcharge is being done instead of raising menu prices, according to the flyer handed out to customers.

Small businesses like Gator's Dockside are also seeing changes that require more paperwork and bookkeeping, new expenses they say since the law kicked in.

"Basically looking at $30,000 per restaurant, each one of the stores, and that literally is just to report hours to payroll company--they report those hours to the federal government," said Jeff Adkins, who is a manager.

Chris Hampton, who has six years working for Gator's Dockside, appreciates

what the company is doing to keep employees full time.

"Working two jobs is really hard," said Hampton. "I did it for five-and-a-half years. it was stressful on body and everything," he said.

**Update: 10 News spoke with the manager of the Gator's Dockside restaurant in Tampa, who clarified they are separately owned, and will not be enforcing the 1% surcharge** 

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