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Restaurant chain owners will cover sales tax on selected menu options

Grupo Colón-Gerena, the franchisee of a combined 115 fast-food and casual dining restaurants in Puerto Rico, will pay for the sales tax applicable to certain menu options starting today, the company announced.

Applebee’s, Longhorn, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Sizzler and Wendy’s will include the sales tax as part of the price for the selected “premium” dish during the next five weeks, this media outlet confirmed.

Company officials said they have yet to calculate how much they will be paying the government in sales tax applicable to the prepared food, as it will depend on how many transactions are registered during the promotional period.

“This promotion responds to a harsh reality that consumers are facing. It’s the result of an effort to provide economic relief, which is so necessary,” said Lizmarie Medina, vice president of marketing for Grupo Colón-Gerena.

“The current lifestyle between professional and personal commitments, eating outside the home is not a luxury. For many families it is the only alternative,” she said.

As part of the sales-tax included promo, the company will cover that expense applicable to between three and six premium items that each restaurant will have on its menu, many of them among diners’ favorites, she said.

Some of the selected entrees are: the Wendy’s Bacon Deluxe combo; Chicken Quesadillas from Applebee’s; Longhorn’s Renegade Sirloin; Fettuccine Alfredo from Olive Garden; Shrimp Linguini Alfredo at Red Lobster; and, Italian Herb Chicken at Sizzler.

The initiative comes after, as a way to incentivize the economy after the January earthquakes in the island’s southern area, the government suspended the applicability of the sales tax on prepared foods. During this period, which ended Feb. 29, there was an increase in customer visits to restaurants, which proved the effectiveness of the initiative, the restaurant chain’s owners said.

Believing there is still a need among consumers for such a convenience, Grupo Colón-Gerena developed the promo to support their clientele.

“Our commitment is with consumers and with making our offer more accessible. We reaffirm our solidarity with the people and continue to explore other initiatives of value to them,” said Medina.

Author Details
Business reporter with 25 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other areas of the economy.

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