Several West Plains, Mo. restaurants begin adding 5 percent COVID-19 surcharge to bills

Published: May. 8, 2020 at 9:23 PM CDT
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Take a look at your food receipts - you may see a new COVID-19 surcharge added to your total. In West Plains, several restaurants are adding a surcharge fee to help absorb costs.

"It's not a tax. It's basically just a small percentage to cover all of our extra expenses," Bootleggers BBQ owner Brian Staack explained.

Ozark Cafe, KiKo Japanese Steakhouse and Bootleggers BBQ all are now adding a 5 percent COVID-19 surcharge.

Their food suppliers don't have the supply of meat and proteins and prices are climbing across the board.

"Everyday there's something else that they can't get or the prices have gone up exorbitantly," Ozark Cafe co-owner Heather Hughes told KY3.

"Our fillet prices, our rib eyes, most of our customer steak and even our shrimp now is becoming double in price. Plus, our chicken," Kiko manager Sarah Sherwood exclaimed.

They each say it's easier to add the surcharge then constantly change the menus.

All three restaurants want to be transparent with customers - with signs and social media posts.

You'll find a note in your menu at Ozark Cafe.

"Most people here get the same thing. They know exactly how much it is going to be. You have to be transparent, you know," Hughes added.

While not everyone will be thrilled with the new surcharge, customers we talked to say it's no big deal.

"To me it's the smartest way to go about it for sure. And I understand that from a business aspect they're having to pay more money, so I think it's fair for sure," Langdon Harris said.

"I absolutely support it, Maylee Stewart explained. I think it's a good thing for us as a community to help support our local businesses. It's really not a lot. They're really not adding too much on to the total. I think mine was 66 cents today and I'd pay more if they needed it."

All owners say this will be temporary.

"If my next truck load, the prices come's gonna come down," Staack added.

"West Plains has really come together to support the local businesses in a huge way," Sherwood stated.

KY3 reached out to the City of West Plains just to ask about the legality of the surcharge.

KY3 was told the city attorney says this is LEGAL and restaurants should be transparent about it.

Customers can always ask ahead of time and determine if they want to pay it or not.