Olive Garden Stumbles After Obamacare Backlash, Won’t Cut Employee Benefits

Olive Garden and Red Lobster’s parent company Darden Restaurants Inc. has experienced a backlash from its anti-Obamacare comments. According to Think Progress, the eateries’ profits have suffered as a result.

Since people didn’t respond well to allegations that Darden Restaurants would shift several employees from full-time to part-time in order to avoid having to pay for healthcare, the company was forced to revise down its profit predictions.

“In light of these upcoming changes, we are being cautious about our sales and earnings forecast for the full year,” Darden CEO Clarence Otis explained in a recent statement. “Our outlook for the year also reflects the potential impact, though difficult to measure, of recent negative media coverage that focused on Darden within the full-service segment and how we might accommodate healthcare reform.”

The Washington Post explains that Olive Garden and Red Lobster won’t force full-time employees to take a cut when Obamacare goes into effect in 2014. This is sure to make a few nervous employees sleep a little better at night.

“We are also committed to accommodating healthcare reform in ways that work for our employees and guests,” Otis continued. “Darden is a strong business which continues to generate solid cash flows that will support appropriate reinvestment in our brands, effective debt management and consistent dividend growth.”

Darden Restaurants wasn’t the only company freaking out when President Obama was elected for another term. Papa John’s publicly stated that they would have to cut healthcare for its employees in an effort to keep customers from paying more money for its pizzas.

However, CEO John Schnatter recently blogged at The Huffington Post about the controversy. He explained that the whole ordeal was one huge misunderstanding.

“Clearly there was some misunderstanding somewhere,” Schnatter said. “The remarks that generated the headlines were made during an entrepreneur class I was asked to speak to at a Florida college. I was asked to share my experience as an entrepreneur and to provide the students with real-life small business situations. Unbeknownst to me, until she identified herself, a reporter was there.”

What do you think about Olive Garden and Red Lobster backtracking on Obamacare?

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