California restaurants’ climate change ‘surcharge’ could quickly raise $10M, group says

But some customers are not on board

Prepare to pay a little more for your next meal in California — but only if you want to.

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Some restaurants in the state have implemented an optional 1 percent surcharge onto customers’ bills this month as part of an ongoing effort to fight climate change.

The extra money will fund Restore California, a collective of restaurants, farmers and diners managed by nonprofit Zero Foodprint. The new group provides funding to food growers needed to create healthy soil and foster a renewable and efficient food system, according to its mission statement.

Restore California shifts “acres of farmland from extractive to renewable practices” in the same way utility companies improve the grid by funding renewable energy projects,” Karen Leibowitz, executive director of Zero Foodprint, said in a press release.

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And the group thinks its program could quickly raise $10 million. Estimates suggest a 1 percent surcharge in California's near-$100 billion restaurant industry could tally up the funds in year one.

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The Golden Gate Restaurant Association has already implemented the surcharge, per SFGATE, and restaurants Atelier Crenn, Benu and Chez Panisse have opted in.

Customers, so far, have lukewarm reactions: “You’re kidding right?” one Twitter user wrote. “Not like California is already the highest taxed state in the country,” another complained. California's sales tax is 7.25 percent.

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Great Gold in San Francisco told Mother Jones that it decided to drop the fee after too many diners complained, opting to donate directly to Restore California instead.

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