Nation's Restaurant News reports that Papa John's, Applebees and Denny's got the message that comments made by their execs against President Obama and The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) hurt their business. Now they are backing off, and actually going along with the program, hoping to get their reputations and customers back.
Following the Nov. 6 re-election of President Barack Obama, which all but ensured that his signature health care reform law would not be repealed, some operators’ public statements about what requirements of the law would mean to their businesses provoked waves of criticism and support from consumers.
According to a new report from consumer perception researcher YouGov BrandIndex, Papa John’s Pizza, Applebee’s and Denny’s experienced a short-term decline in “buzz scores,” which the company uses to measure positive or negative word-of-mouth for brands, for such comments.
Restaurant company leaders were proactive in their responses to the outcry from consumers, from Mike Archer of Applebee’s and John Miller of Denny’s distancing themselves from their franchisees’ statements or Schnatter clarifying Papa John’s positions with op-eds in the Huffington Post and the Louisville Courier-Journal.
In his response, Schnatter noted that Papa John’s would comply with the Affordable Care Act, would not cut jobs or hours in its corporate stores, and in fact would open hundreds of stores over the next few years. He added that corporate employees have had their insurance covered since the company was founded in 1984.
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