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Harold's Chicken Charges 26% 'COVID-19 Fee' On Bills, Claiming Spike In Food Supply Prices

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Harold's Chicken on Broadway created quite a stir over the weekend, with one item on its receipt: what the restaurant called a COVID-19 surcharge of 26 percent.

Restaurant manager Jacquelyn Santana said their food suppliers raised their prices by 26 percent on Saturday "due to the COVID pandemic."

The restaurant's owner told us a case of chicken wings, for example, jumped from $60 to $90, and the restaurant had no choice but to pass on some of the increase to customers.

"We're trying to keep other employees employed, including myself. We are just opening up so we really need to be able to make ends meet," Santana said.

The restaurant industry has been devastated by the coronavirus outbreak, and many eateries have been forced to shut down. Those offering curb-side and carry-out services have seen costs go up, says food journalist and hospitality consultant Erica Bethe Levin.

"Restaurants are now finding themselves in a position where they are spending more money than they were before," she said.

Still, Harold's Chicken on Broadway took a lot of heat for the COVID-19 surcharge, notably on social media.

Harold's dropped the surcharge Sunday.

"We're actually trying to figure out how else we can make up for those losses that we've had so far," said Santana.

Santana told us in an effort to keep the restauarant open, some workers have had their hours cut. Now she says they'll have to find other cost saving measures

Levin added, 'If want our restaurants to survive, and you know we all do, they're such a big part of our lives, then there has to be some give and take, we have to give in a little bit, too."

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