A restaurant on the west side of Michigan is implementing a new fee called a “COVID charge” to all customer orders. Owner Brad White of Goog’s Pub & Grub in Holland tells Fox 17 he added the $1 flat fee per meal to account for the rising cost of carryout orders.
Restaurants across the state have had to quickly adjust to carryout and delivery-only service in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic and Michigan state executive orders closing restaurants to dine-in service. That means businesses that once relied on dine-in customers eating off reusable plates and flatware, are now having to invest more in carryout containers, bags, and utensils. White says that it costs roughly 82 cents more per meal to make takeout orders due to the added costs of disposable containers and utensils. At the same time, many restaurants can no longer rely on customers to purchase alcohol. Bars are closed unless they have a Specially Designated Merchant (SDM) license for to-go beer and wine sales.
Restaurants like Goog’s are dealing with the additional burden of rising food costs due to supply chain issues stemming from the pandemic. A case of burgers that might have previously cost Goog’s $50 in early March, now cost more than $70. White says he added the additional fee because he wanted customers to know why prices were increasing.
Other local restaurants such as Red Crown in Grosse Pointe Park recently addressed the rising cost of meat, stating in a post to Facebook that it was making it difficult for the business to continue offering take-and-bake meals for $12 per person. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics consumer price index, the cost of groceries in the U.S. rose 2.6 percent in April — the largest one month price hike in food costs since 1974.
Eater is tracking the impact of the novel coronavirus on the local food industry. Have a story to share? Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.