Darden, which own Red Lobster and Olive Garden, is showing a 37% drop in net income after failed promotions and attempts to duck the Affordable Care Act.
In cutting its forecast for the year earlier on Dec. 4, Darden also said that it was hit by a publicity backlash from tests intended to gauge how it could limit costs for workers’ health care. Starting in 2014, big employers such as Darden will be required to provide health insurance to full-time workers. The company had tested hiring more part-time workers and replacing full-time workers who left with part-time workers in select markets to gauge how it could mitigate those costs.
Darden CEO Clarence Otis said the media coverage was a “secondary issue” that hurt the quarterly results. He said the coverage “misinterpreted our actions against a stand against health care reform.” The company has since said it will not move any full-time workers to part-time status as a result of the regulations.