My wife and I really enjoy Longhorn. It's our favorite restaurant. When we found out about their "pilot" to cut employee hours to avoid Obamacare we weren't very happy. I sent them an email and gave them my feedback. I was very direct and told them we would no longer give them a dime of our dining dollars as long as they treated their employees this way. Below the squiggly is their initial response to me and below that is their response today.
The power of your voice and the power of the consumer's choice to patronize a business can make real change! Because Longhorn chose to side with its employees, my wife and I will go back and we can once again visit with our favorite server. She’s a single mom who's working as hard as she can to provide for her family. We take care of her because, people do matter!
Two months ago:
Thank you for your interest in LongHorn.
Darden, like all major employers, is confronted with a significant challenge due to increased consumer expectations, economic pressures and government regulations like health care reform.
Testing staffing models is just one element of our operations that we’re looking at to meet the needs of our employees and offset the cost implications to our business while we wait for final health care reform regulations. These tests will determine which staffing models do the best job of delivering an outstanding dining experience to our guests while managing our employees’ time to increase their flexibility, choice and opportunities.
It’s important to understand, though, that 75% of our employees already choose to work part-time and we are NOT reducing any of our current employees’ hours as part of this test. What we are doing is hiring NEW restaurant employees as part-time workers for most of the new restaurants that we’re opening. The vast majority of our hourly workforce will not experience any change in their hours and schedules during this testing period.
This pilot is an important step forward as we continue to grow. In fact, we anticipate adding 50,000 net new jobs over the next five years.
We appreciate the time you took to write to us. If Guest Relations can be of further assistance, please reply to this email or write us again through our website at www.longhornsteakhouse.com.
LongHorn Steakhouse Guest Relations
Thank you again for your comments. We wanted to get back to you with some additional information. As you know, we have been testing potential changes in our workforce in connection with healthcare reform that is scheduled to take effect in 2014. Today we have some news to share: None of Darden’s current full-time employees, hourly or salaried, will have their full-time status changed as a result of healthcare reform. In addition, in 2014, all of Darden’s full-time employees, including hourly, salaried and executive employees, will have access to the same insurance plan coverage. It is very important that we are able to make these commitments to our full-time employees. We hope this helps clarify our position. Thank you for allowing us to respond.
Darden Guest Relations