ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Guests who come to El Patron are going to have to get used to a small surcharge coming at the end of the meal due to the rising cost of food and fuel. “Unfortunately, it’s something that our restaurant has had to impose on the customers,” said owner Nadine Martinez- Daskalos.

She says this was not something they wanted to do. “A 3% surcharge across the board… so that we wouldn’t have to increase menu prices across the board,” said Martinez- Daskalos.

There are many factors leading to this surcharge that will be added to your total bill before tax. The restaurant association says that pales in comparison to food costs. “It’s difficult for restaurants facing 17%, wholesale food cost increases and significantly increased wages, to keep up with menu price increases,” said Carol Wight, the CEO of New Mexico Restaurant Association.

Martinez- Daskalos says another factor for adding the charge was wanting to take care of their own employees. “Our employees, you know, our employees are feeling it to going out and buying gas and that kind of stuff. So it allows us to keep them happy, keep them employed.”

New Mexico restaurants aren’t the only ones having to add a surcharge. “The National Restaurant Association is reporting that 26% of restaurants are converting to this inflation surcharge,” said Wight.

Customers aren’t thrilled about it but understand the charge. “I would prefer that than across the board price increase because it’s really hard to take that back,” said Katie Buckland, a guest at El Patron.

The restaurant says they hope the economy stabilizes soon so they can drop the surcharge. “It’s so that we don’t have to change menu prices across the board either, you know, so we’re hoping it’s just temporary,” said Martinez- Daskalos.

The restaurant association says they have already seen two restaurants in Las Cruces and Santa Fe include a surcharge to the bill. They also say other restaurants have just had to raise their prices. On average, menu prices are up 6% in New Mexico in the last six months.