WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. John Metz, the franchiser of Hurricane Grill and Wings, and owner of more than 30 Denny's and Dairy Queen restaurants, told the Huffington Post and Fox News he wants to add a 5 percent surcharge to customers' bills in order to offset President Obama's healthcare plan.
"Although it may sound terrible that I'm doing this, it's the only alternative. I've got to pass the cost on to the consumer," Metz told the Huffington Post.
An extra buck on a 20 dollar lunch bill? Customers we talked to in Royal Palm Beach on Thursday don't like the idea.
"Whoa I don't think so. I think we should find something else," said Patty Heinrichs.
"I think it's outrageous that he would correlate ‘Obamacare' to the cost of providing food to the patrons that are coming in," added Yatcha Barnes.
Metz would not talk with NewsChannel 5 on Thursday. But his public relations firm, out of Los Angeles, sent us a statement about his comments.
"Despite recent media coverage, Hurricane Grill & Wings is committed to exploring viable and effective ways to deal with the changing economic climate, including the implementation of The Affordable Care Act. We have always been and will continue to be 100 percent dedicated to our employees and customers and will work tirelessly to find solutions that are in their best interests.
The interview referred to potential economic changes that will affect the restaurant industry as a whole, and the comments, were not politically based.
Hurricane Grill & Wings supports President Obama and the revision of healthcare in this country. The only question is what the restaurant industry as a whole will do to cover the expenses," the statement read.
The statement also says his comments about a five percent surcharge were just an option.
"I wouldn't pay it," said Juan Uribe, a restaurant patron.
Starting next year though, certain employees of these establishments will only be allowed to work 28 hours a week instead of 40 in an effort to avoid paying for health insurance.
We're told that's only at the five corporate owned locations of the 48 Hurricane Grill and Wings.
Obama's healthcare plan is not fully implemented until 2014.