Founding Farmers Implements “Wellness Fee” to Support Staff and Offset Pandemic Debt

8 December 2023

The popular chain restaurant Founding Farmers in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, has introduced a 5% “wellness fee” to address employee benefits and financial burdens caused by the pandemic.

Founding Farmers, a renowned restaurant chain in Montgomery County, has recently made headlines by implementing a “wellness fee” of 5% on all customer bills. This additional charge aims to support staff members by providing benefits such as sick leave and mental health services, while also helping the restaurant offset the financial strain caused by the ongoing pandemic. This article delves into the reasons behind this decision and explores the broader trend of restaurants implementing similar fees rather than raising menu prices.

Prioritizing Employee Well-being and Financial Support

Founding Farmers’ of the wellness fee reflects the company’s commitment to prioritizing the well-being of its employees. The additional charge is explicitly outlined on all menus, reservation confirmation emails, and the restaurant’s website, ensuring transparency and clear communication with customers. By allocating the funds from the wellness fee, the restaurant aims to provide essential benefits to its staff, including sick leave and mental health services. This proactive approach not only fosters a healthier work environment but also acknowledges the importance of supporting employees during challenging times.

Addressing the Pandemic’s Financial Impact

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant financial impact on the restaurant industry, with many establishments struggling to recover from losses incurred during lockdowns and reduced capacity restrictions. Founding Farmers’ decision to implement the wellness fee is also driven by the need to offset the debt accumulated during this challenging period. By spreading the financial burden across all customers, the restaurant aims to recover some of the losses sustained and ensure its long-term sustainability. This approach allows Founding Farmers to maintain its menu prices while still providing necessary support to its employees.

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A Growing Trend in the Restaurant Industry

Founding Farmers is not alone in implementing additional fees to address employee benefits and pandemic-related debts. Many other restaurants across the country have adopted similar strategies, opting for surcharges rather than raising menu prices. This approach not only allows establishments to maintain competitive pricing but also ensures that customers are aware of the specific costs associated with supporting staff and recovering from the financial impact of the pandemic. While some customers may be initially surprised by the of these fees, the overall intention is to create a more sustainable and equitable ecosystem within the restaurant industry.

Customer Choice and Opting Out

Founding Farmers acknowledges that not all customers may be comfortable with the wellness fee. To respect individual preferences, the restaurant provides an option for diners to opt out of the additional charge. This flexibility allows customers to make an informed decision based on their personal circumstances and beliefs. By offering this choice, Founding Farmers demonstrates its commitment to maintaining open lines of communication with its patrons and respecting their autonomy in supporting the restaurant and its staff.


Founding Farmers’ implementation of a wellness fee showcases its dedication to employee well-being and financial recovery in the wake of the pandemic. By introducing this additional charge, the restaurant is taking proactive steps to provide essential benefits to its staff and offset the financial strain caused by the ongoing crisis. This decision aligns with a broader trend in the restaurant industry, where establishments are opting for surcharges instead of raising menu prices to ensure transparency and sustainable operations. As the industry continues to navigate the challenges brought on by the pandemic, initiatives like the wellness fee represent a thoughtful and innovative approach to supporting both employees and customers.

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