Last October, Darden Restaurant, Inc., the company that owns restaurants such as Red Lobster and Olive Garden, announced that due to the financial strain Obamacare would be placing on their company, they were going to experiment with shifting full-time employees to part-time positions. By doing so, the restaurant group would have avoided providing health benefits to full-time staff members.
Under The Affordable Care Act, companies with over 50 employees are required to provide health care benefits to their full-time workers. Darden Restaurant, Inc. is just one of a handful of companies threatening their employees as a result of Obamacare. Applebee’s, Papa John’s and Denny’s have also recently received negative feedback as a result of their political comments and efforts to avoid having to provide health care.
According to crisis management expert Glenn Selig, from the PR firm The Publicity Agency, it will be tough for the company to bounce back from the negative attention.
“Olive Garden has left the public with a bad taste in their mouth, and it’s difficult to un-do that,” says Selig. “It’s once again proof that companies need to stay out of politics. They jumped in, and now, forgive the pun, the company is getting its ‘just desserts.’”
In the weeks following the Darden group’s statement, the company saw a huge drop in their stock. After acknowledging the negative response from consumers, the company’s CEO, Clarence Otis, stepped forward with a revised statement, saying that they will move toward accommodating the new health care reform and continue running their restaurants with their full-time staff.
Even with their latest comments, PR firm executive Selig doesn’t think they’ll be able to repair their reputation quickly. The real crisis has to do with the public having seen a major corporation use employees as political pawns, says the public relations expert.
“The mistake was posturing and using employees as pawns, not whether making everyone a part-time employee makes sense or could work,” says Selig.
About The Publicity Agency
The Publicity Agency is a full-service, national PR firm with home offices in Tampa, Fla. The PR agency, called “one of the top PR firms in the U.S.” by the Tampa Tribune and named a “Top 25 PR Firm” by the Tampa Bay Business Journal in 2010 and 2011, is a leading strategic public relations firm founded by power publicist Glenn Selig, a multiple award-winning former major city network news reporter/anchor. The Agency represents businesses, newsmakers, entertainers and professionals seeking top-tier agency representation.
Selig and the team of talented and experienced publicity agents and publicists have worked with some of the biggest names in business and entertainment.
Liv Gaggi, Associate Project Manager
SOURCE: The Publicity Agency
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