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Customers react to Lotus of Siam optional check fee

Fee is not mandatory and at customer's discretion
Posted at 7:10 PM, Nov 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-23 14:56:32-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The next time you eat at Lotus of Siam, don’t be surprised if you are asked to pay for the restaurant’s employees’ health care. There’s a new added fee on the bill.

The lunch rush is on at Lotus of Siam a popular Thai restaurant. Customers who dine in will see the additional fee.

“We have an employee health fee with a disclaimer that says this fee will go towards our employee health insurance,” Penny Chutima, owner of the restaurant said.

She says it’s a 3 percent fee that’s been added for about a month now, made known with a sign with the check. She did this with the input of her workers after seeing restaurants in California do it.

“In order for me to make a decision, I want to know what people are feeling,” she said.

Chutima says she’s seen the costs of health insurance double on top of paying nearly all her employees a living wage on top of tips. She didn’t want to raise the price of food and thought this would be a compromise.

“I want it to benefit my employees and benefit everybody else so we’re all happy, we’re all part of something,”

It did catch some customers by surprise with some taking to social media to voice frustrations likening it to resort fees. Chutima pushed backed with that comparison.

“For me, resort fees, I don’t think they’re transparent. For mine, mine is definitely set in stone. You know where it’s going to. It’s not going anywhere else,” she said.

Chutima says it’s the customer’s discretion whether or not they want to pay the fee. Customers say they understand why the restaurant is doing this.

“That’s much less problematic and I think people will be pretty sympathetic to that,” William Ramsey of Las Vegas said.

“I think it’s good to help other employees and it’s something I don’t mind contributing towards that, so I think I approve of it,” said customer Ken Longenecker.