In 2014, companies with over 50 employees working 30 hours or more (per week) will be required to offer health coverage to all eligible employees. Otherwise, the employer will face penalties ranging from $2,000 to $3,000 per employee per year.
In the fall of 2012, Darden Restaurants, the parent company of Olive Garden and Red Lobster, publicly announced that they would shift employees from full-time to part-time in order to avoid Obama’s coverage mandate.
Papa John’s joined the fight when CEO John Schnatter said that health coverage would raise the price of pizza by 15 to 20 cents per order. He claimed that he too would search for ways to cut costs.
Applebee’s soon followed suit when their CEO, Zane Tankel, stated that he would be forced to fire employees in order to keep costs down.
Then, John Metz, the owner of over 40 Denny’s franchises in Florida, announced a 5% surcharge on all sales to help cover the added costs of health care reform. Metz also threatened to scale back the hours of his employees from 40 to 28 per week.
But history repeats itself. Few people remember in 1994 when Godfather Pizza’s CEO Herman Cain debated President Clinton on the merits of what his healthcare reform bill (crafted by Hilary Clinton) would do to the restaurant industry. Cain would later become an unsuccessful candidate for the 2012 Presidential Republic Party nomination.