Fact Check

Buffalo Wild Wings Has Added a Health Care Surcharge?

Rumor: The Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant chain has added a new surcharge to help cover the cost of the Obamacare.

Published Jan. 22, 2015


Claim:   The Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant chain has added a new surcharge in order to cover the cost of Obamacare.


TRUE: Buffalo Wild Wings in one city briefly added a surcharge to customers' bills to cover the costs of the Affordable Care Act.
FALSE: The Buffalo Wild Wings chain has added an Obamacare surcharge at all its restaurants.

Example:   [Collected via e-mail, January 2015]

Is this true? Obamacare surcharge at popular Buffalo wild wings?


Origins:   In January 2015, numerous customers at a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in Lubbock, Texas, were upset to find a new Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA) surcharge tacked onto their bills:

The surcharge was implemented at Buffalo Wild Wings locations owned by the Howard Restaurant Group in Lubbock, Texas. Samantha Spitzer, director of marketing for Howard Restaurant Group, said in a statement the surcharge was meant to cover the cost of the Affordable Healthcare Act (commonly known as "Obamacare"):

Due to the Affordable Healthcare Act and its requirement of healthcare coverage to all full-time employees, our restaurant group has decided instead of cutting employee hours and raising food and beverage prices, to implement a two percent surcharge on all guest checks to offset the cost of the federally mandated employee healthcare with the least possible impact to the consumer.

On 9 January 2015, Eater reported that the Howard Restaurant Group decided to remove the surcharge after receiving several customer complaints. Heather Leiferman, Director of Public Relations for Buffalo Wild Wings, added in a statement that the decision to add the 2% surcharge was made by a local franchise owner and did not affect other restaurants around the country:

The health care surcharge at our franchised Buffalo Wild Wings in Lubbock, Texas, has been removed. We regret any inconvenience this may have caused. Our priority is to always provide our guests a great experience every day so they can enjoy our wings, beer and sports.

The Buffalo Wild Wings in Lubbock wasn't the only restaurant to add an Affordable Care Act surcharge in January 2015. According to CNN Money, several restaurants in Florida have also begun charging customers extra to cover the cost of the ACA.

Last updated:   22 January 2015

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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