Obamacare critic Olive Garden/Red Lobster reports 37% drop in profits

Whether there’s a connection between Olive Garden / Red Lobster parent company, Darden Restaurants, reporting bad numbers and their flip-flopping on Obamacare is hard to say.

Customers of those restaurants are certainly middle class people, most of whom know all too well how difficult and expensive healthcare can be, so it’s not unreasonable to think the earlier criticism of Obamacare had some negative impact.

Earlier this month, it was reported that Darden’s CEO was concerned about the bad publicity, but that he was making efforts to provide healthcare to at least some of their employees. Darden did eventually come around.

“Although our workforce historically has been heavily part-time, we have always had a significant number of full-time employees and they are integral to our success,” said Darden chairman and CEO Clarence Otis. “The data we have collected during our test around guest satisfaction and employee engagement has only reinforced this. As we think about healthcare reform, while many of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s rules and regulations have yet to be finalized, we are pleased we know enough at this point to make firm and hopefully reassuring commitments to our full-time employees.”

Was blaming Obamacare real, or just an excuse for missing the numbers? Again, it’s hard to say. Data shows that criticism of Obamacare by CEO’s has hurt the image of companies, though nobody can make a direct link to poor numbers, yet. The ongoing economic crisis could just as easily be responsible for bad performance. Many families still feel financially insecure, and going to restaurants is often an expense that gets cut.

Darden seemed to eventually be doing the right thing by exploring the process of adding healthcare for at least some employees. Was it too little, too late or was the damage already done? Whatever the answer, the public does seem to be in a bad mood lately with CEOs, former CEOs, rich people and companies who are bashing Obamacare, or at least, access to healthcare for employees.

The Huffington Post is suggesting the earlier Obamacare criticism is linked to the drop in sales, but I’m less convinced. The criticism may not have helped, but to blame the unfortunate public statements about Obamacare on such a huge revenue decrease, a 37% profit drop, sounds too easy.

It’s time for businesses to get on board with Obamacare, and quit causing self-inflicted wounds, or the image of self-inflicted wounds on their businesses. Maybe it means a few less dollars at the top, but is that really such a crisis to whine about?


An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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  • Nathan

    You just proved my point. Thank you.

  • caphillprof

    Obviously, you are not paying attention. The recalcitrance is on your side of the aisle.

    Oh, and, by the way, you are the embodiment of evil.

  • Nathan

    You know, here’s the difference between you and us: We think you’re wrong and you think we’re evil. It’s people like you that prevent compromise and meaningful discussions that actually get things done. You should be ashamed of yourself.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Sounds like the Senate dinning room.

  • Dakotahgeo

    Triple hear, hear!!!

  • Dakotahgeo

    LOLOL. You do get what you ask for. Payback is a bit*h!!!

  • Dakotahgeo

    I hope this is a lesson to corporate bosses and their corporations that when you are selling a service to the general public, KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT politically. My family and friends have had their last meals at both the Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants because of their smug interference!

  • CaProgressive

    “The Huffington Post is suggesting the earlier Obamacare criticism is linked to the drop in sales, but I’m less convinced. ”

  • http://fighttherightwingnuts.blogspot.com/ mike31c

    No sympathy for anti-worker assholes.

  • Naja pallida

    It’s funny how they just don’t stop to consider that maybe people have better things to spend their money on in a depression than overpriced, mediocre food handed to them with poor service in a miserable atmosphere, all topped off with asshole management.

    Must be the socialism that’s hurting them.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Well good for you. But, I can’t imagine that those who waddle in to McDonald’s or Wendy’s give a good G’damn whether its marginally paid no-tip workers have health care or not.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    You may be forced to eat at Dominos and Papa Johns as punishment

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Any restaurants with pretension that serve iceberg lettuce and bottled Italian dressing are automatically assigned a level in mediocrity hell.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    In the case of Olive Garden, I doubt if Obama Care has anything to do with the bad service and mediocre food food served therein.

  • HolySnare

    The healthcare issue seems to be adding a new twist to supply and demand, as it should. As a customer, I demand that the servers and cooks at the restaurants I patronize be completely healthy (i.e., insured, whether it’s an employer-provided plan or Obamacare). I don’t want anyone coughing and sneezing all over my food or handing me a menu with their sneezed-on, coughed-on hand.

    Now I know that Olive Garden is among a growing list of establishments who are unwilling to meet consumer demand in that area, so I’ll find a restaurant that is. Or, I’ll stay home and make my own sauce.

  • nicho

    It probably has more to do with the fact that with the still tanking economy people don’t have enough money to eat out as much as they used to.

  • ezpz

    “It’s time for businesses to get on board with Obamacare, and quit causing self-inflicted wounds, or the image of self-inflicted wounds on their businesses. Maybe it means a few less dollars at the top, but is that really such a crisis to whine about?”

    This sounds to me like you’re fully supporting obamacare, yes?

    Easy for you to say from Paris, France, a country with one of the best single payer health care systems in the world, one that does not contribute to bankruptcies and homelessness.

    (I’m not talking about the business aspect, just the personal, individual one.)

  • samizdat

    Interesting. Unless the graphic is somehow electronically skewed or distorted, the death rates for every comparable continue to fall in Australia, whereas all of the rates in the US–with the exception of suicide and homicide–begin to rise around what looks to be ca. 2002-03. Not a good trend.

  • confusion

    I’ve been criticizing the hell outta Obama am I at risk for lower profits ? Wait …I have no profits.

  • Hue-Man

    It’s the hypocrisy that rankles. The CEOs fly around in the private jets with gold-plated health care and million dollar pension plans while complaining about Obamacare adding 5 cents to the cost of each pizza. My favorite is the “world’s richest woman”. http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/events/gina-rinehart-poverty-gaffes

  • caphillprof

    As long as Republicans are mired in fantasy, hatred and un-American policies, as long as the stamp their feet and throw tantrums like the spoiled children they are, their businesses deserve loss of business.

    Enough already.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lucious-Leyden/100003049190771 Lucious Leyden

    They should be more concerned about the rich’s GOP cronies trying to turn every job into a minimum wage one soon no one will be able to afford their crap.

  • UncleBucky

    That’s a really good resource. Thanks!

  • UncleBucky

    Not only do I not go to Olive Garden restaurants, but I have given up on buying “olives” of any kind and I refuse to go to “garden centers”. There. Everyone loses money, because of Darden. ;o)

    Likewise, because of Arizona and the Tea Party, I stopped drinking Arizona Tea. Yeah! ;O)

  • Drew2u

    Here’s an interesting site comparing the death statistics by cause between Australia and the U.S.

    http://www.healthmetricsandevaluation.org/tools/data-visualization/cause-death-trends-united-states-and-australia-1970-2006#/overview/explore

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