It Turns Out More Restaurants Are Charging a “Wellness Fee” Than We Thought

8 December 2023

The practice of adding a wellness fee to restaurant bills is gaining traction in the Philadelphia area, but it’s not being well-received by customers.

In a recent article, we highlighted the of a five-percent “wellness fee” at Founding Farmers, a chain restaurant in King of Prussia. This fee was intended to cover employee health and wellness costs, as well as offset price increases on items like napkins and silverware. However, it seems that Founding Farmers is not alone in implementing this controversial charge. More restaurants in the Philadelphia area are now adding a wellness fee to their bills, much to the dismay of their customers.

The Rise of Wellness Fees:

FCM Hospitality, owned by Avram Hornik, has been charging a three-percent wellness fee, referred to as an employee benefit fee, since March. FCM operates several popular restaurants and bars in the Philadelphia area, including Morgan’s Pier, Liberty Point, and Lola’s Garden. While Founding Farmers provides a detailed explanation of their wellness fee on their website, FCM’s various sites lack such transparency. We reached out to FCM for clarification.

According to an FCM spokesperson, the wellness fee was introduced to provide a better quality of life for employees without significantly raising prices for guests. The money collected from the wellness fees is directly allocated to employee programs, ensuring a guaranteed wage, and providing weekly bonuses across all FCM locations.

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Criticism and Concerns:

However, not everyone is convinced that wellness fees are the right approach. Keith Taylor, a respected local chef and owner of Zachary’s BBQ in Collegeville, believes that additional costs should be incorporated into menu pricing rather than added as a separate fee. Taylor also expresses concerns about the potential misuse of the collected funds, citing past scandals involving dishonest practices by restaurant owners.

Taylor’s sentiments are echoed by consumers, who have taken to social media to express their dissatisfaction with wellness fees. Many argue that big corporations should shoulder the costs, rather than passing them onto customers. They suggest that companies should adjust their business models and consider lowering their profits instead of burdening patrons with additional fees.

Conclusion:

The of wellness fees in Philadelphia-area restaurants has sparked a wave of backlash from customers. Despite the intentions behind these fees, such as supporting employee well-being and offsetting rising costs, the general sentiment among consumers is that the burden should not fall on them. As the debate continues, it remains to be seen whether these fees will become a common practice or if restaurants will reconsider their approach in response to customer pushback.

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