Rated R – Gator’s Dockside Restaurants

When a restaurant doesn’t care about the health of its employees, by extension it doesn’t care about the health of its customers. Add to that the fact that it is willfully deceiving its customers and it is time to eat elsewhere. Let me introduce you to the Florida restaurant chain Gator’s Dockside.

Typical of a Florida or Florida based restaurant operation; most of the locations are franchises. An entity named The Gator Group owns eight locations and has started charging its customers a 1% surcharge to cover the increased cost of doing business it alleges to have incurred in providing health insurance to all its employees under the Affordable Care Act, a/k/a Obamacare. There are two problems with that statement: Obamacare does not apply to them until 2015 and they do not offer health care insurance to their non-manager employee, some 70% of their full time employees.

While many patrons might gladly add another quarter to a $25 tab in order for the people who prepared and served their food to have health care coverage the later is not the case. Gator’s is taking your quarter, but the worker does not have health care coverage. You are being “taxed” for something that does not exist. The kindest word I can think of to describe that practice is: deceptive.

Now there is certainly social value to food workers having health care. If they do they are much more likely to be healthy. Would you rather have your food handled by someone healthy or someone who is sick? Sounds like a no-brainer to me. If a restaurateur pays his people poorly and does not provide them with health care insurance often economics force them to report to work when ill. That does not seem to be in the public interest to me.

Florida is a wonderful vacation destination. Tourism is a major industry in the Sunshine State with good reason. One of the joys of being on vacation is eating out. While I no longer live in Florida, I am scheduled to be there before 2014 is out. During my stay I will patronize some restaurants; Gator’s Dockside will not be one of them.

There are 21 Gator’s locations in Florida, only eight of them are owned by The Gators Group. When I’m on vacation I don’t feel like doing research as to which locations are deceiving and disrespecting their customers while shortchanging their employees. It is easier to eat elsewhere.

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