Letters for March 22, 2015

• Surcharge part of being transparent • Dairy will be good for Kauai

Surcharge part of being transparent

A few thoughts in regards to the additional 3 percent surcharge showing up on restaurant bills in major U.S. cities and here in Hawaii.

Surcharges are nothing new to anyone who receives or pays bills, including the hospitality industry, but they are new to restaurants.

Many restaurants, lump all their costs under one main heading, “cost of goods,” and price their menus to pay for these costs. However, many restaurants would rather keep their menu prices as an accurate reflection of the ingredients they purchase. These food ingredient costs have increased astronomically recently and restaurants work creatively to keep menu prices down and don’t feel it’s right to factor health care costs into menu prices. Adding a “surcharge” allows for a transparent way to pass on the additional and substantial cost of health care.

The Affordable Care Act in California (which would require businesses to provide health care benefits to their employees) actually does not go into effect until January of 2016 and as recent Wall Street Journal articles have attested, some restaurants in California are taking heat (rightfully so) for allegedly not applying these surcharge gains toward their employee benefit programs.

In Hawaii, however, state mandates to provide health insurance to all full-time employees (over 20 hours per week) have been in place for a long time and with the recent changes in the Health Insurance Industry, the cost of providing that insurance is significant.

I believe restaurants (and businesses in general) should strive to create the best possible work environment for their employees. Providing and paying for an exceptional health plan goes a long way toward providing long-term jobs and careers for their staff, and if a surcharge shows up on my bill as a separate line item as opposed to being hidden in a higher priced menu I would have no problem with it, I actually like seeing that the company is taking care of its employees.

In regards to the letter posted last week about the restaurant in Hanalei that has added a surcharge to their bill; I believe it is posted on the menu, the wine list and on the bill. I also think it is a trend we will see more of here in Hawaii.

Jim Moffatt

Bar Acuda — Hanalei

Dairy will be good for Kauai

Aloha, I am a native Hawaiian who is in favor for Hawaii Dairy Farms. I believe the dairy will not only create local jobs but it will also provide the islands with milk that will be cheaper for Hawaiis residents and guests.

This dairy will also make Kauai one step closer to being self-sustainable and not having to rely on costly imported milk. The only thing holding it back is the people who are using the environment as an excuse to scare people away, when we all know it’s about their property value they’re really concerned about. I think that’s why a Washington Realtor is matching up to $100,000 in legal funds against HDF.

The major problem is not the cows, it’s people. More and more people are visiting and/or moving here and people must poop. Aqua Engineers had to upgrade its wastewater facility plant from 500,000 gallons a day to 1 million gallons a day to “accommodate the increased development in the Poipu area.” This effluent R1 is used to water their golf courses like Kiahuna, which is next to Waikomo stream and Poipu Golf Course, which is next to Mahaulepu, and Waiopili stream.

The water sample taken in October 2014 just so happened to be in Kauai’s rainy season and could possibly be run off from Poipu Golf Course. But you won’t hear these people threatening PGC with legal action because it would only affect their resale value. Let’s see what else they come up with next.

Benehakaka Kaiwi

Hanapepe

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