Should we really have to pay more for gluten-free menu items?
Is it just me, or do we pay surcharges for everything these days? It’s not uncommon to pay a substantial price for substituting milk at our favorite coffee shops (worth it, y’all), and apparently even UPS is about to start charging us extra for home deliveries.
So it comes as no surprise that restaurants—particularly large chains that play by their own rules—can hike up prices for specialty items, particularly gluten-free ones. But when do those surcharges for gluten-free items become unnecessary and harmful to the folks that have to eat from that side of the menu (such as those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity)?
A woman named Anna Marie Phillips from San Jose, California says enough is enough: she’s suing the popular Chinese food chain P.F. Chang’s for their unreasonable $1 surcharge on gluten free menu items. This class action lawsuit claims that the charges were added to items that were naturally gluten free, such as vegetables, and to add a surcharge at all is a violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act. The suit is requesting restitution for all diners in California who might’ve paid this fee in the past 4 years.
Restaurant lawsuits have been making the news a lot lately, but most of these suits involve employees. McDonald’s is under heat for wrongful termination, Hooter’s is being sued by former employees for being underpaid, and managers working for Jimmy John’s claim they were also not being given fair wages. Labor lawsuits are definitely on the rise, so will menu lawsuits be the next big thing?
An argument can be made that it’s reasonable to pay extra for items that cost the restaurants more money to create, but it’s ridiculous to charge customers extra for items that are already gluten free. We already pay so many fees for speciality substitutions—almond milk latte represent!—and I myself am no stranger to paying high prices for sugar free items (as a weight loss surgery veteran, if I want chocolate it had better be either bitterly dark or sugar free), so having to dole out extra dollars for a regular ‘ol side of broccoli is kinda bonkers, you guys.
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