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Houston-area restaurants increase menu prices rather than adding COVID-19 surcharges

While some restaurants across the U.S. are adding a COVID-19 surcharge as they begin to reopen, the Texas Restaurant Association says they haven't seen that here.

HOUSTON — Some restaurants across the country are adding COVID-19 surcharges to customers' bills. 

But that trend hasn't made its way into Texas or the Greater Houston area, according to the Texas Restaurant Association.

Instead, some business owners have decided to raise their menu prices.

Anna Tauzin with the TRA said the main reason for those increases boils down to one thing.

"Processing plants are getting slowed down," she said. "That is causing the increase in protein cost."

The increase in meat prices is not just affecting restaurants. Grocery store chain H-E-B sent a statement saying it has also seen issues with their suppliers, but have managed to hold prices steady.

"At H-E-B, we pride ourselves in being ready and here for Texas. Currently, meat suppliers across the country are experiencing a mix of issues that have temporarily disrupted supply for certain products and have caused prices for these products to increase and drive up costs to retailers, including H-E-B. We have product limits in place to protect product availability for all our customers, and currently we have a strong supply of meat in our stores, which we replenish daily. We have held prices steady and we will continue to act aggressively to bring Texans some of the lowest meat prices in the nation. We are watching the supplier situation closely and will do everything we can to advocate for low prices for Texans during this period of volatility in the market."

In the end, the Better Business Bureau recommends that businesses are upfront about any additional fees they might add.

"They should address it before not just wait to give a consumer a receipt and kind of hope that they don’t look at it or that they don’t notice. Because even if it’s a couple of dollars they should be aware of it,” said Paloma Ortiz with the Better Business Bureau in Houston.

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