By Alana Abramson
March 9, 2017

As minimum wages rise in states across the U.S., consumers are picking up the cost.

But instead of hiking menu prices, restaurants in a number of states are turning the additional wage costs into surcharges, according to the Wall Street Journal. In Arizona, California, Colorado, and New York, they can range from 3% to 4%.

Restaurants are choosing to add the surcharges because they say raising prices makes consumers want to trade down—ordering a sandwich instead of an entree, or skipping desert, the Journal reports. And for a business with razor-thin margins, that can make a huge difference.

“It’s the emerging new norm,” Sharokina Shams, spokeswoman for the California Restaurant Association, told the Journal. She said California restaurants will add a surcharge to adjust to the state’s minimum wage policy, which is expected to rise annually until it reaches $15 an hour by 2023.

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