Darden Restaurant, Under Pressure, Revises Plan to Slash Hours
December 7, 2012 8:34 am
Ducking the increased cost of Obamacare by reducing the number of full-time employees is both bad PR and bad business, it appears. The Darden restaurant group (Red Lobster, Olive Garden), that made headlines with plans to test cutting full-time employees to avoid insuring them or paying fees, announced plans to jettison the program after a wave of bad publicity and worker dissatisfaction impacted earnings projections.
The Huffington Post reported on the backlash and company reaction:
After Darden’s tests were reported in October, the company received a flood of feedback from customers through its website, on Facebook and in restaurants, said Bob McAdam, who heads government affairs and community relations for Darden. Additionally, he said that internal surveys showed both employee and customer satisfaction declined at restaurants where the tests were in place.
“What that taught us is that our restaurants perform better when we have full-time hourly employees involved,” he said.
Darden is now saying that its 45,000 full-time employees — just one quarter of the company’s 180,000 strong workforce — will not have their hours cut, and will have access to benefits. In this case, it seems that public outcry and obvious worker dissatisfaction have produced results, but the Darden Restaurant Group is at the forefront of anti-worker policy. They have consistently lobbied to keep the tipped minimum wage at $2.83, and are the focus of a number of class action lawsuits alleging wage theft and discrimination.
There are other options for those who wish to eat out without a side of worker suppression. The Restaurant Opportunities Center just released its 2013 Diner’s Guide (also available as a free iPhone or iPad app). The national guide promotes restaurants that offer higher minimum wages ($5 for tipped employees, $9 for non-tipped employees), paid sick days and real opportunities for advancement.
Image from here