Olive Garden's Parent Company Lowers Earnings Estimate After Health Law Comments

Restaurant officials say that earlier statements about the costly effects of the health overhaul have contributed to a reduction in revenues.

Politico: Obamacare Press Hits Olive Garden
Harsh press coverage of how the Olive Garden and Red Lobster are implementing Obamacare depressed earnings, the restaurants' owner says. The company offered a lower earnings estimate for fiscal year 2013 on Tuesday, citing in part the media's reporting on the company's handling of the new health care law. The chains' owner, Darden, has in the past been outspoken about what it viewed as adverse effects of the new health care law, taking steps like moving some employees to part-time status to reduce costs (Glueck, 12/5).

Los Angeles Times: Olive Garden Parent Darden Suffers From Bad Specials, 'Obamacare'
The Olive Garden, Red Lobster and LongHorn Steakhouse parent lowered its profit and revenue projections for the quarter ended Nov. 25, blaming sour promotions in its eateries, Superstorm Sandy, its purchase of the Yard House USA chain and even its efforts to mitigate the coming costs of health care reform, also known as "Obamacare" (Hsu, 12/4).

The Hill: Restaurant Chain Says Criticizing 'ObamaCare' May Hurt Its Earnings
Darden is one of several large employers to consider rolling back workers' hours in response to the Affordable Care Act. But the company said Tuesday that negative publicity surrounding that position might be bad for business. ... The company said it would figure out how to make the new health care requirements work. After saying Darden's brands are working to improve their products and marketing, (Darden CEO Clarence) Otis added that "we are also committed to accommodating health care reform in ways that work for our employees and guests" (Baker, 12/4).

This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. The full summary of the day's news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.