Companies that suck: volume 1.

Some business owners are positively livid that they now, by federal law, must provide healthcare to the employees that make them rich.  I’ll try to update this blog with a list as I learn about them.

Denny’s.  This one sucks.  I actually kind of like Denny’s.

The owner of more than 40 Denny’s restaurants throughout the southern region said Thursday that he will levy a 5 percent surcharge and cut employees’ hours in order to offset costs imposed by the Affordable Care Act, widely known as ‘Obamacare.’

John Metz of West Palm Beach, Fla. told Fox News that most of his roughly 1,200 employees will see their hours trimmed to less than 30 per week in order to eschew laws that would otherwise require him to provide them with health insurance.

“People are trying to find ways to avoid the penalties and to avoid having to pay for Obamacare,” Metz said. “Everyone’s looking for a way to not have to provide insurance for their employees.”

Papa John’s.  As long as Pizza Hut still has stuffed crust, no big.

Papa John’s Pizza seems to be gunning for Chick-fil-A’s “most heartless fast-food chain” title after CEO John Schnatter threatened to increase pizza prices by 11 to 14 cents per pie and cut back employee hours if the Affordable Care Act isn’t repealed. Schnatter has found support from more than 20,000 Facebook users (and counting), who have staged an “eat-in” to protest Obamacare and its effects on the food chain:

Papa Johns has been targeted by the left for a boycott, for simply articulating that ObamaCare would hurt profits and force cutbacks in employee hours. Stand up to this nonsensical and illogical action and support Papa Johns this Friday!

Forbes’ Caleb Melby points out, however, that Schnatter’s underlying logic doesn’t make sense when you look at the numbers:

Last year, Papa John’s International captured $1.218 billion in revenue. Total operating expenses were $1.131 billion. So if Schnatter’s math is accurate (Obamacare will cost his company $5-8 million more annually), then new regulation translates into a .4% to .7% (yes, fractions of a percent) expense increase. It’s difficult to set that ratio against the proposed pie increase, given size and topping differentials, but many of their large specialty pizzas run for $16. Remarkably, a 10-14 cent increase on a $16 pizza falls in a comparable range: .6% to.9%. But the cost transference becomes less equitable if you’re looking at medium pizzas, which run closer to $12, meaning a .8% to 1.15% price increase.

In other words, Melby’s analysis shows that Obamacare would increase Papa John’s expenses by only a fraction of a percent, and his proposed increase would not only cover said expense — but it might even result in an increase in revenue. For example, if Papa John’s were to sell exactly 50 percent large pizzas and 50 percent medium pizzas, Melby explains, prices would only have to increase 3.4 to 4.6 cents a pie to cover Obamacare costs. Melby notes that although Schnatter may have other reasons to increase prices, ”attributing all price increases to Obamacare would be disingenuous.”

For the record, John Schnatter is worth about $600 million, lives in a $7 million mansion with a 22-car garage and private golf course, and pays his employees (who suffer from the notoriously low labor percentage of fast food restaurants…why pay two employees when you can overwork one?) an average of $7 per hour.  He’s also doing a $30 million free pizza promotion.  Yeah, this guy’s going to be “forced” to make up the difference somehow.  How dare someone like John Schnatter be asked to provide for the people that make him rich (and who will continue to make him rich)?  How can they expect him to raise the cost of pizza by almost a nickel…as if the health of the people working in his company is worth more than that?  How will that greedy, heartless fuck eat?

The response from conservatives would be that the free market would somehow punish people like John Schnatter and reward companies that are better to their employees.  But people will always need jobs, and sometimes working for shitty owners like Schnatter are just a reality.  I’ve worked for fast food companies (hell, that’s how I spent much of my life and college years): most of them would pay employees less than minimum wage if only they could.

Olive Garden and Red Lobster.  Classic date spots for me and Michaelyn.  So long, salad and breadsticks.

The owner of Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants is putting more workers on part-time status in a test aimed at limiting costs from President Barack Obama’s health care law.

Darden Restaurants Inc. declined to give details but said the test is only in four markets across the country.

The move entails boosting the number of workers on part-time status, meaning they work less than 30 hours a week.

Under the new health care law, companies with 50 or more workers could be hit with fines if they do not provide basic coverage for full-time workers and their dependents.

Know of any restaurants that rock?  Let’s promote those too.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Nick

    Ben & Jerry’s rocks.

  • Heather

    That leaves MSU with two restaurants in the PSU that are crappy: Chik Fil A and Papa Johns. If I remember correctly, John Schnatter’s mom used to live next to my mom around St. Charles.

  • Kaoru Negisa

    “People are trying to find ways to avoid the penalties and to avoid having to pay for Obamacare,” Metz said. “Everyone’s looking for a way to not have to provide insurance for their employees.”

    Shouldn’t that indicate that these people are assholes? Let’s translate: “Everyone is looking for a way to continue to fuck over the people who work for them.” I mean, he’s saying it like I’m supposed to look at that and say, “Oh, I didn’t realize employers would take hostages! Quickly, give them everything they want! Shut up and take my money!”

    • AJ

      That was my takeaway. “Everyone’s looking for a way to not have to provide insurance for their employees.” How can anyone utter that sentence and not feel like a complete shit?

      “Everyone’s looking for a way to not have to provide insurance for their employees.” How can you hear that out loud and not suddenly realize how much of a shit that makes you sound like?

      “Everyone’s looking for a way to not have to provide insurance for their employees.” It had been almost a week since my last gobsmacking.

  • TychaBrahe

    I want someone with the numbers to figure out:
    A) What it would cost to insure 1200 Denny’s employees.
    B) How many customers Denny’s serves a year.
    C) A/B.

    I really want to know what it is. Because, frankly, I’m thinking it’s going to come down to about 25-50 cents an order. And if that is the difference between healthcare and not, I’d actually be willing to pay it, and I bet a lot of other people would as well.

  • Greg G

    I would like a list of companies that have employees prepare food products when they should go to the doctor. Boycotting them would lower health costs and disease in this country.

  • Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

    Papa John’s: We fuck our staff and pass the savings on to you! pretend to be dragons so we can sleep on piles of gold, jewels, and money!

  • smrnda

    When big, rich employers talk about how this law is just going to break their backs, why doesn’t anybody just call them out as money-grubbing liars? It seems that if a CEO says something, a conservative will just assume that it’s a true and accurate statement.

    I’m writing to all of these restaurants in question and explaining why they have just lost my business, permanently. All employers screw their workers, but to pretend that they have ‘no choice’ in this matter is just showing that even if they could afford to offer health insurance, they’ll do anything they can to make sure their workers enjoy the lowest standard of living possible even when they’re raking in money hand over fist.

    • Liberated Liberal

      I will be doing exactly the same thing. I don’t think they realize that what they’re doing is simply providing ample evidence to the world that they absolutely hate their slaves, errrr, employees and will do whatever it takes to fuck them over in order to maintain their fistfuls of money. These are the people who wish slavery were still legal and are doing everything they can to replicate it. The sick part is that they feel justified enough in doing so that they are making these threats publicly and proudly! I do hope that their employees seriously consider finding other jobs (not always possible, I know very well).

  • Jenni

    Support your local small business restaurants! Those chains are all multi-millionaires. I work in the foodservice business and 9 out of 10 times the food is better anyway. So it may cost you an extra buck…wouldn’t you rather that dollar go to good people than these evil clowns?

  • Loqi

    Fortunately for me, I already disliked all of these restaurants.

  • Desiree

    I don’t know if it is still the case, but when I worked there in college Quik Trip was a good company to work for. They had optional healthcare for part time employees which was then and is now almost unheard of.

  • Matt Prorok

    It’s not as blatant, but there’s Nationwide Insurance. Not a restaurant, but definitely a conservative company (no surprise, being that they’re insurers, I guess). Here’s what’s happening: As of 2013, if a Nationwide employee elects to get medical coverage, and covers an adult household member who has access to medical coverage through their own employer, a surcharge will apply. Of $50. Per pay period. Here’s the excuse:

    “Health care reform requires that all individuals have health care coverage beginning in 2014 to
    avoid a personal penalty. In general, individuals will need to secure that coverage through an
    available employer’s plan, the new state exchanges, or through government programs such as
    Medicare or Medicaid. Nationwide is concerned about the potential increase in cost as a result of more individuals needing coverage. More than 11,000 associates do not currently cover a spouse, but they could potentially be added. Increased enrollment due to the individual coverage mandate and automatic enrollment requirements of the health care reform law will result in higher company costs.”

    Basically, “The law says everyone has to get coverage now, so we expect the number of covered household members to go up. But we’d rather not lose money from giving people good health insurance, so here’s another $1200 a year on your costs.” Note that it isn’t a surcharge for household members who could get insurance through their own employer BUT DON”T. That might be more defensible. No, you get the charge regardless of whether the household member gets their own coverage or not. So much for having dual insurance in order to save money.

  • kagekiri

    Mmm, makes me extra glad I’m working for people who actually give a crap about their employees despite being conservatives.

    Sadly, as I don’t eat at any of these places regularly, I won’t be able to really withhold money from them that they’d otherwise be receiving; I’ll just continue to not give a crap about them.

  • Kodie

    It was my basic understanding that many corporations already limit hours to get out of providing health insurance to employees, especially the low-rung kind of food service jobs. Since I’m not up on things, job-wise, and I’ve gone almost my whole adult life uninsured and having the kinds of jobs where I wouldn’t be insured, I might be behind the times.

    I do live in Massachusetts, though. The first year Romney/Obamacare was in place, they waived the fine, then I had the only decent “grown-up job with bennies and everything” I’ve ever had, then I lost that. So on the other side of it, I was uninsured again and penalized for it, even while I was on unemployment and a smidge above the poverty line. If you qualify for Masshealth but don’t apply, it turns out they fine you. As far as I know about these things, I thought many corporations have been getting around the law where they have to provide health insurance, and I didn’t know that Obamacare meant they would have to provide any to part-time workers they didn’t used to have to.

    I may be talking out my ass compared to people who have jobs and stuff, but it’s not been my experience that every job provides health insurance – you either have to work there more than 30-35 hours per week, and/or they may not offer it from 30 days to 6 months in, and/or required by companies with I think 8 or more full-time employees. Under Romneycare initially, I temped 40 hours a week for $12 an hour for over 4 months and nobody said anything about my health insurance which I definitely did not have and was penalized by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for.

    It was my understanding that individuals were responsible for their own health insurance under this plan, not the employer, unless required by law, like I said – and they’ve been getting around that for a long time by offering no full-time positions, and thus no health insurance. I may be behind the times and totally out of my depth talking about this, but I thought this was already the problem with working for places like Walmart and such.

  • UsingReason

    A others have mentioned the solution here is to boycott these large corporation franchise restaurants and find some local mom and pop places you’ve been walking past. I can recommend trying to eat at as many places from Diners,, Driveins and Dives as possible; it’s the bomb.

  • baal

    We could move to single payer or nationalize healthcare. It’s.a fluke of history that it’s done through the employer.

  • Jasper

    They’ll get over it. I’m sure companies were livid over 40 hour workweeks, paid overtime, etc, as well.

    That’s what evil people complain over. As others have pointed out, Papa John’s is doing a $30M “free pizza” campaign while whining about $8M obamacare costs.

  • phoenix_860

    I’m really pissed at Darden* right now. I went to a meeting at work this morning and my manager went on and on about how much the company cares and he showed us a special gold coin that Darden sent to every single manager to symbolize how much they “care.” Thanks but no thanks, shitty gold coins sent only to managers are not going to help me get affordable medical care and they’re not going to make up for the cut in hours we just got–you know right before Christmas and such. They’re assholes.

    *Darden is the parent company of Olive Garden, Red Lobster and about 7 other companies.

  • unbound

    Will be easy for me to avoid those restaurants anyways (from my perspective, they offer the worst tasting food so we’ve haven’t been to any of them in a long time).

    It’s too bad that we don’t have real reporters in this country anymore. How easy it would be to point out the greed in this situation…

  • smrnda

    I’m going to add that I work for a start-up – the type of small business started by an entrepreneur that Republicans can’t stop fawning over as the great American undertaking.

    Guess what, my boss says that the 1st thing that he wishes this country has (he isn’t from the US) is national health care, since it’s a cost of doing business he would rather delegate to the State. The other thing is when people decide where to work, they have to weigh the benefits packages and most are confusing enough to make it hard to compare. However, with a national health care system in place, the only thing you’d care about a job were its pay hours and working conditions since health insurance is taken care of.

    Perhaps it’s a difference in culture- employers, in the US, simply have no sense of fair play or social responsibility. To behave this way would be disgraceful in other nations.

  • RuQu

    There is a reason progressives were massively disappointed that Obama unilaterally decided to not even put single payer on the table.

    It should come as no surprise that healthcare reform with loopholes as wide as “simply put people on decreased hours” is being exploited.

    On the plus side, it is a first step towards universal coverage. Perhaps in a few years as the flaws become more and more obvious, we can replace this absurd patchwork of band-aids with a real fix.

  • John Horstman

    So, Papa John’s profit appears to be $87 million ($1.218B – $1.131B), which means that they could easily absorb a $5-6 million increase in costs while still turning a profit, all without raising prices. Really, dude is just complaining about not being able to make as much money if he has to give health insurance to all of the people doing the actual work that allows him to make any money at all. Grade A asshole.

  • Anonymous

    I work for Pizza Hut and they are doing the same thing. They just didn’t blab about it so it seems no one even knows eccept their employees.