Gas prices, inflation lead to fuel surcharges, new catering costs

The next time you receive a receipt, consider taking a closer look.

Why is this important: While Americans already struggling with record inflation are less surprised by rising commodity prices, many are finding new fees eating into their budgets.

  • Companies are getting creative with new “fuel surcharge” fees and charges to deal with high gasoline prices, a “non-monetary adjustment” for using credit instead of cash, ” kitchen appreciation fee” or simply a “temporary fee”.

By the numbers: The number of restaurants adding service fees increased 36.4% from April 2021 to April 2022, Lightspeed, a global point-of-sale software developer, told The Wall Street Journal.

Rollback: Early in the pandemic, companies started adding fees like sanitization fees or the cost of personal protective equipment.

  • The New York City Council allowed restaurants to temporarily add a “COVID-19 recovery fee” of up to 10% of total bills, but required the menu and bill to clearly disclose the fee.

What they say : “As the costs of doing business have changed, we’ve seen more and more merchants take advantage of this tactic,” Peter Dougherty, general manager of hospitality at Lightspeed, told The Journal.

  • Ted Rossman, senior industry analyst, CreditCards.com, told Inc.com that consumers want to be presented with a prize.
  • “They don’t want to be nickel and dime on everything from air conditioning to cleaning supplies to health insurance for their employees,” Rossman said.

Reality check: Some of the additional charges are clearer than others, such as when restaurants specify that menu items have higher costs for delivery orders and service charges may apply.

  • Experts advise reading the fine print and if a fee isn’t displayed or listed correctly, ask for more information.
Fuel surcharges added amid rising gas prices

Ride-sharing and on-demand delivery apps added fuel surcharges in March to “help drivers” combat high gas prices.

  • Uber added a fuel surcharge of $0.45 or $0.55 to each trip in mid-March.
  • Lyft has added an additional $0.55 to each ride.