More reasons not to eat at Applebees, Papa Johns or Denny’s

Just in case you weren’t aware that the owners of some big-chain restaurants and huge jerks, check out this piece by Matt Yglesias highlighting the temper-tantrums being thrown by the owners of Applebees, Denny’s and Papa Johns over Obamacare. Their problem? Under Obamacare, small businesses don’t incur any additional tax burden; businesses that already provide health insurance are also in the clear; and so are businesses that pay their employees a living wage. But businesses that both employ more than 25 people and pay extremely low wages have to put some money into the health care system. The multi-millionaires who pay their employees pennies and are the beneficiaries of Republican tax breaks don’t like that, and they’re throwing fits:

The No. 1 consequence of Obama’s re-election is that it essentially guarantees his signature health care law will be implemented. And not everyone is happy about it. Zane Tankel owns about 40 Applebees franchises. He says that as a result of the law’s penalties on employers who don’t offer health insurance to their workforce “we won’t build more restaurants, we won’t hire more people.” John Metz owns about 40 Denny’s outlets, several Dairy Queens, and is the brains behind the Hurricane Grill & Wings chain is even blunter. He says he’ll be tacking a 5 percent surcharge onto customers’ bills in order to defray the costs of Obamacare.

If you’re not happy about that surcharge, he’s got an answer for you. Cranky customers “can reduce the amount of tip they give to the server, who is the primary beneficiary of Obamacare.”

It’s worth noting that the server is the primary beneficiary of Obamacare exactly because Metz and his company don’t provide health insurance and don’t pay their employees enough. But yes, customers, go ahead and stiff a server who’s making a few bucks an hour.

These guys are being jerks, but they’re helpfully bringing to light what was obscured during the original debate over the health care bill—rich businessmen don’t like it because it raises their taxes. The Republican Party is very sensitive to the views of rich businessmen, and so they didn’t like the health care bill. The debate, unfortunately, got bogged down in a lot of nonsense about death panels and socialism rather than focusing on the brass tacks stuff that matters. Low-income workers—the kind of people likely to be working as servers at Denny’s—really will see huge benefits from the law. And the kind of people who own dozens of chain restaurant franchises really will suffer, at least a bit.

The main issue facing chain restaurant owners is the law’s “employer responsibility” provision. If you’re a small employer with fewer than 25 employees, the Affordable Care Act is extremely generous to you and you’ll get special subsidies to help make an insurance plan for your workers affordable. But if you have over 50 employees, then it’s another matter. If everyone on your payroll already gets group health insurance, you’re in the clear. If they don’t, but they’re all paid enough to buy insurance on the new insurance exchanges without a subsidy, then you’re also in the clear. But if you’re employing low-wage workers who’ll get subsidies for their new insurance plans, then you’re going to get taxed to the tune of $2,000 a worker.

For a few categories of employer, this is supposed to encourage businesses to offer health insurance. But in many cases, especially in the food service sector, it’ll be much cheaper to pay the tax than to add a more generous benefits package. Naturally employers don’t like that.

But what’s the scale of the issue here?

John Schnatter, CEO of Papa John’s and a major Mitt Romney donor and fundraiser, gave us a hint in an August call with shareholders when he complained that it would raise costs about 11 to 14 cents per pizza. That’s peanuts. Between variations in sales taxes, fluctuations in ingredient costs, and place-to-place differences in rents, any food chain is used to dealing with price swings on this magnitude. At worst, an increase in labor costs along these lines is going to mean that cash wages in the service sector grow at a modestly slower rate for the next year or two.

That said, there is good reason to be generally skeptical of the idea that legislative fiat can increase workers’ compensation. Compensation is ultimately going to be driven by productivity, not the whims of Congress. But if there was ever a good time to give it a shot, it’s probably now. The labor compensation share of overall economic output has historically fluctuated in a narrow range, but it fell steadily in the post-dot-com era before completely collapsing during the Great Recession. The existence of a glut of unemployed workers during the past few years of recovery has prevented the fruits of economic growth from being shared with most workers. Consequently, after-tax corporate profits as a share of GDP have soared to a record level.

In other words, if there was ever a time when firms were prepared to eat higher costs because of reduced profits that time is today.

About Jill

Jill began blogging for Feministe in 2005. She has since written as a weekly columnist for the Guardian newspaper and in April 2014 she was appointed as senior political writer for Cosmopolitan magazine.
This entry was posted in Economics, Food, Health, Politics and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

67 Responses to More reasons not to eat at Applebees, Papa Johns or Denny’s

  1. Andie says:

    Jon Stewart made a point I liked re: this issue. If you don’t like it, then yeah, blame Obama for not pushing harder for a single-payer system.

    • samanthab says:

      Well, I’m all for single payer, but I don’t know that he was solely responsible for the death of single payer. Also, Obama’s definitely not responsible for the creepy behavior of these CEO’s. That lays at their feet.

      • Andie says:

        No, I doubt he was solely responsible either.. it was the idea that these guys are blaming Obamacare for their increasing costs and usually the implication is that he shouldn’t have changed anything at all, rather than just make a different change.

        I wasn’t focused so much on the ‘blame Obama’ part as the ‘a single-payer system would have avoided this’ part.

  2. wayne johnson says:

    herb hoover = great depression
    ike = hit the steel worker with us troops
    nixon = after letting buinessess raise prices for 2 1/2 yrs put on wage and price controls just before big union contracts expired
    ron reagan fired air traffic controllers telling all buisness fear no unions
    ron reagan = no increase in min wage for 8 yrs
    bush 1 = read my lips no tax hikes but then we got tax hikes
    bush 2 = the greatest recession ever

  3. Fat Steve says:

    To be fair, unlike the owner of Papa John’s, the other people quoted aren’t the owners of Applebees or Denny’s, they are owners of a small percentage of their franchises. While I would studiously avoid an Applebees owned by Zane Tankel (though if you wanted to pop in and make fun of his name I would also support it,) or a Denny’s owned by John Metz because of the way they view their employee’s healthcare, I would not apply this to all Applebees and/or Denny’s restaurants which I would avoid solely for the reason that their food tastes like shit.

    • Tim says:

      I never ate at a Denny’s until I was maybe 50. Among other reasons, I avoided them because of the racism problem. I heard they had cleaned up their act in that regard, so I tried one on a road trip out of curiosity. That was more than enough to satisfy my curiosity forever. The food wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good either. Just so bland I don’t even remember what it was.

      I have never eaten at an Applebee’s, but was vaguely curious to try it to see what the big deal was. I now will be satisfied to go to my grave never having fulfilled that sorta-goal.

      I haven’t ordered delivery pizza in 30 years because I can buy a frozen one in the supermarket and doctor it up for a better result at half the price.

      Sometimes I almost feel bad that I can’t boycott a lot of this stuff because I don’t buy it in the first place (LOLZ Chik Fil-A!)

    • samanthab says:

      Yes, but the franchisees didn’t single-handedly create the exploitative labor practices, I would guess. I would be very surprised if that wasn’t a top-down strategy that applies to the whole of these chains.

  4. Nobody says:

    Huh…this shows how clueless I am. I’d always vaguely thought of Papa John’s as the “good” fast food pizza company as opposed to Domino’s which was the “bad” one.

    Oh well…

    • gahanon says:

      My mom told me a while back that the anti-choice guy who owned Domino’s and contributed huge amounts of money to forced birth groups sold the company. So while Domino’s definitely used to be thumbs-down in our book, they are no longer super-evil afaik, or at least no more evil than your average corporation.

  5. William says:

    This is going to be the easiest boycott to stick to ever. I’m glad I live in a metropolitan area where almost all of my options are “local options…”

    • A.Y. Siu says:

      Same here. Tons of great locally owned, non-chain restaurants where I live. Avoided Denny’s anyway because of racial issues.

      • Wait, what? I hadn’t heard about that.

        Thank fuck I only went there a couple of times…

      • Tim says:

        At one time, Denny’s was always in the papers for shitty treatment of black people. Mostly the racist incidents happened a few years back (content note on that linked NYT article: awful details on some of the cases. The most infamous, which garnered nationwide headlines, was when a Denny’s actually refused to seat and serve several black members of President Clinton’s Secret Service detail; the linked article mentions that one too. Supposedly they cleaned up their act and I haven’t heard anything like it for a while. That’s partly why I decided to give them a chance a couple years ago as I noted above. Unfortunately, even if they have improved their civil rights record, their food is still crap.

    • Henry says:

      Hate to burst bubbles, but many of the locally owned delis in my city employ illegal workers at slave wages with no healthcare. Local /= good. Next time ask the server if his employer provides healthcare.

      • Miss S says:

        Very good point… I’ve worked at ‘local’ privately owned restaurants in Baltimore, and i never got healthcare or sick days. And you know how restaurants are supposed to make up the difference between your tips and minimum wage if you don’t make minimum wage? Never happened.

        Food service industries suck.

      • William says:

        Most of the really local restaurants I frequent are either little ethnic family joints who seem to have the same half-a-dozen faces in them no matter when you show up or bar-type places with the kinds of labor-suck I experienced when I was waiting tables. When I do go out I always factor in an above average tip, in cash if I can help it, as part of the price because I remember how awful that $3.00-an-hour/no sick days/no insurance situation was.

      • Jadey says:

        An aside, but I really have trouble wrapping my head around $3 an hour, although I know it’s legitimately what bad wages are like in the US. Even the most basic entry level job I’ve ever worked was at least $7-8 an hour, depending on what minimum wage was at the time (and it’s since gone up in most provinces). And I know there’s a currency difference to factor in here, but the USD isn’t worth *that* much more than the CAD, especially not recently.

        It’s appalling to me that our countries can be so similar in terms of resources and wealth, but so disparate in terms of pay and access to basic social resources. Which is not to imply that Canada is “better” than the US (lord NO, we have plenty of problems) – just that the contrast in this particular area makes the US wage gap even more appalling.

      • Which is not to imply that Canada is “better” than the US (lord NO, we have plenty of problems)

        Honestly, Jadey, I’m going to come right out and say it: Canada (at least for a non-white, non-straight, non-Christian female) is a hell of a lot better than the US. Yes, you have your problems, but I wouldn’t emigrate to the US if you paid me; I’d rather move back to India and be illegally oriented (lol) but have racial/caste privileges that balance it out. The US scares the shit out of me as a living prospect.

      • AnonForThis says:

        An aside, but I really have trouble wrapping my head around $3 an hour, although I know it’s legitimately what bad wages are like in the US.

        When I was working as a waiter the minimum wage in Illinois was $8.25 unless you’re a tipped worker like a waiter. Right now the minimum in Illinois for a tipped employee is $4.95, although I remember it being just a little over $3 when I was doing it seven or so years ago. Technically if your tips didn’t come out to the other $3.30 an hour your employer has to make up the difference but…theres a lot of things a restaurant is supposed to do in Illinois that its just cheaper to pay an official to look the other way instead.

        I remember that where I worked all the tips went into a “tip box,” which sounds like a good idea because it meant you got a set percentage of the tips for the whole house even if your section didn’t get a lot of traffic. The reality was that all the money was pooled, it was counted, the head waitresses who counted it skimmed a little, then the bus boys, the cooks, and the bartender got their cuts, then what was left was divvied up amongst the waitstaff. After a little while pretty much everyone learned to just pocket any cash tips that showed up, and thats how I learned that oppressive systems condition those who are oppressed to fight one another over the scraps. Its also why I always tip in cash when I can.

      • seisy says:

        I only relatively recently learned about the $2 and $3/hr wages for tipped employees. It wasn’t that way in the two states I was a waitress in (California and Nevada, where its $7/$8ish/hr). I’m kind of surprised a bigger fuss isn’t made about it, it’s disgusting.

      • Fenriswolf says:

        To chime in with other non-USians, that seriously freaks me out. The minimum wage in NZ is $13.50 and Australia is $15.96. Plus everyone in NZ is entitled to 5 paid days sick leave, 20 days annual leave, as well as bereavement etc. Plus of course parental leave, free or subsidised services for pregnancy, free emergency and free or subsidised other healthcare. Oh and NO fire at will or even close.

        And people struggle here. Really, genuinely struggle. How the FUCK do people in the US live like that???

        I appreciate that if you’re lucky, you can work somewhere where tips more than make up for it (my partner’s ex moved to the US, and being a hot lady made GOOD tips) but how totally unfair and ridiculous is that system??

        (This makes me head explode on a regular basis – I love to read notalwaysright.com because it’s hilarious but also “they fired me for taking sick leave” etc etc = O_O)

        Oh, oh, but one of my best friends is from California, lived here for a couple of years. She said she struggled more here because of the cost of living; a lot of consumables are a LOT more expensive than the US. But back home, she comes from a middle class family that can support her, plus she’s gone back to school and there is a higher standard of living for her doing that. Unfortunately, it’s like balancing on a financial precipice of DOOM that happens to have a cushy seat, to my mind. :P

        /novel

  6. rain says:

    That said, there is good reason to be generally skeptical of the idea that legislative fiat can increase workers’ compensation. Compensation is ultimately going to be driven by productivity, not the whims of Congress.

    Mmmm, that doesn’t sound right to me. There is good reason to be generally skeptical of the idea that productivity gains can increase workers’ compensation. From the U.S. Dept of Labor:

    Real hourly compensation growth failed to keep pace with accelerating productivity growth over the past three decades, and the gap between productivity growth and compensation growth widened.

    The whims of Congress/ legislative fiat can do much to keep in check the exploitation of workers, and ensure that some of the benefits from productivity gains trickle down.

  7. dietFacts says:

    It is terrible how these rich businessmen view their employees as expendable cogs, rather than HUMAN teammates who help them keep their operation running and growing. Without the workers, John Schnatter would still be delivering his pizzas himself. You don’t hear Domino’s Pizza griping about the Affordable Health Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) because they already provide good wages and health insurance coverage to their full-time workers, as any SMART employer does.

    Who wants a worker that comes into work sick because they can’t afford to miss work or see a doctor? Or someone who is overly tired from working 2 or more jobs because they are woefully underpaid? Personally I prefer to have a food server who is healthy, happy and well-paid. I’m willing to pay a bit more for it, too.

    BTW Schnatter wants to tack on 14 cents more per pizza even though the Wall Street Journal pointed out that it would only cost merely 4 cents. Maybe Papa John was already calculating in the amount of business his whining was going to cost him ;) He’s certainly lost my business forever.

    • Miss S says:

      I’ve seen firsthand food service workers come in sick. It’s disgusting that employers would rather have employees come in sick and handle food than have a day off. I’ve seen people come in with strep throat, fevers, runny noses, repeated vomiting throughout the day, and all types of contagious illnesses. It’s really not okay that the people who are handling food don’t have sick days and are threatened with termination if they dare call out sick.

      • scrumby says:

        A day you don’t work is a day you don’t get paid. It’s not like you can afford to loose fifty or so dollars our of your check AND pay for a doctor or medicine, so a lot of people don’t want to call in even if they need to.
        They don’t get sent home because there probably isn’t anyone else to really take the shift. Employers have been cutting labor needs to the absolute bone for awhile now. Hire enough people to cover all shifts with no employees getting more than 35 hours a week; if someone calls out you risk having someone go into overtime to cover their shifts, so you really, really discourage anyone from taking time off.

      • Andie says:

        I think we all understand this. It doesn’t make it right. That’s what Miss S is saying. It’s a broken system.

  8. Henry says:

    I hope they do raise their prices to fund health care for their workers. I’ll be happy to pay extra to make sure the people who are serving me are able to get healthcare while keeping their employer happily in business. Healthcare costs money and we should all be happy to pay for it.

    • samanthab says:

      Right? I’m gonna bitch about 14 cents? Not so much.

      • samanthab says:

        Sorry, that was a totally inappropriate word usage. Totally. All I can say in my defense is that cultural conditioning runs deep.

    • (BFing)Sarah says:

      Not me. Personally, I want a single payer system, but that’s another thread. But, as the article stated:

      But businesses that both employ more than 25 people and pay extremely low wages have to put some money into the health care system. The multi-millionaires who pay their employees pennies and are the beneficiaries of Republican tax breaks don’t like that, and they’re throwing fits[…]

      The point is for large businesses that deliberately pay low wages and give no health care benefits to put some of their massive (PJ had 1.22 billion in profits last year–more than 8% increase from the previous year) profits back into the system to provide health care for the people who don’t have it (like, for example, their low wage workers). The point, as I see it, is to encourage the CEOs and other executives that are making millions to see that providing health care and a living wage is a good thing to do. These particular businesses are clearly too greedy to make that decision without facing a tax penalty. If they have to forgo some small portion of their multi-million dollar salaries, so be it. The average consumer, who is not a member of the Romney 1% Club, should not have to pay that penalty. It is not our fault that these guys lobbied against single payer (I, for one, fought for health care reform and ended up feeling a little let down at the result) and it is not our fault they are assholes and refuse to provide a living wage or benefits. I am more than happy to pay taxes that go towards all sorts of good (and not so good) stuff, but I’m not willing to be the one that pays for these assholes to continue to make the same profits and refuse to treat their employees with respect. They should see that the public does not want to attend their restaurants while they are refusing to provide a decent living just so the CEO can do things like get his dog a manicure and buy a fourth house in the Caribbean. They don’t “need” to defray the costs by upping the price of pizza. They are already making a hefty profit from their business. They need to take some of that profit and either pay it into the system or put it directly towards benefits and salaries so that they don’t have to pay that tax for Obamacare. There are other places where I can buy my pizza or I can make it myself. That’s fine, too.

      I want to be clear, if a smaller, family owned business in my neighborhood needed to charge more for pizza because they were trying to give their employees health care, trying to stay open in a competitive atmosphere, or they were doing renovations to make the business more environmentally friendly then I would happily pay extra for pizza. In fact, most of our local pizzerias charge more for pizza than the chains, because they have to in order to stay open. That is different than a CEO throwing a fit because they have to put a small fraction of their billions in profits into the system to make sure everyone has health care. It would also be different, to me, if our country instituted a single payer system and, because of this, taxes went up. Fine. That’s worth it.

  9. Rick says:

    I can understand the desire to punish the CEOs of these companies by reducing the revenue via boycott. But while this may make you feel good that you “stuck it to the man”, all you are really doing is putting those same workers you claim to care about at risk. Hostess twinkles anyone?

    • Rick says:

      Yumm, twinkles! Of course, I meant Twinkies! I should proof read better.

    • AnonForThis says:

      Hostess and the Bakers are back at the table again. More importantly, Hostess wasn’t going under because of a boycott, they were going under because workers who were already making more than most people did in their positions elsewhere didn’t want to take a temporary pay cut to cover the cost of management not being competent enough to sell Twinkies to Americans.

      • (BFing)Sarah says:

        Yes, those greedy, greedy Hostess workers demanding 20 dollars an hour so that they might feed their families! The bastards!

      • seisy says:

        They didn’t want to take paycuts when the executives were tripling their pay. Sounds fair to me.

      • scrumby says:

        Management stole the union’s contribution to the pension plan the year before, and employees are supposed to trust that it was only a “temporary” pay cut? What is with this constant “the emperor has no clothes” farce where we must keep propping up thieves and liars least the world crumble?

    • (BFing)Sarah says:

      Actually, I think Hostess shut down because of a combination of executive greed and the fact that maybe its less acceptable to eat cake stuffed with whipped cream (not to me, but to some). But honestly I think corporate greed is what is putting workers at risk. While the executives at Hostess were trying to reduce pay and benefits to bakers, the CEO received a 300% raise. While filing for their second bankruptcy, apparently 9 of the highest executives received raises of 60-100%…and this is also while ceasing to pay into pensions. It really bothers me when we act like that kind of behavior is legit and not part of the reason why certain businesses fail. If the business model is to fuck over the little guy and give the executives millions, then maybe that is something that needs to be rethought.

      In other words: fuck Papa John’s, I’ll get my pizza elsewhere.

      • Rick says:

        Sorry to derail with the Hostess reference. I meant it to be an example of how supporting workers can actually hurt them.

        I don’t eat Papa John’s simply because I don’t like the way they treated my daughter during a pizza delivery. But I still think the idea of trying to help workers by actively working to eliminate their livelihood is not a successful strategy.

      • (BFing)Sarah says:

        Let me put it this way: I only have a certain amount of money to spend on convenience food per month. Why should I spend it at a place where the CEO spouts off at the mouth about how awful Obamacare will be for his business or how they are anti-gay marriage (Chik-fil-A)? Yes, a percentage of those monies (albeit a very, very small percentage) goes to the workers at those convenience food places, but the lion’s share of the money goes straight to the top. And the person at the top needs to learn that being a public asshole means that they will make less money. Chik-fil-A is delicious, but not delicious enough to warrant me supporting an openly anti-equality agenda. There are plenty of other places where I can spend my money.

        Also, what is the difference between me not wanting to spend money at a place where I don’t agree with their publicly stated politics and you not spending money at a place because of an incident of bad treatment? Should all of the workers at Papa Johns be penalized because of one delivery person’s bad behavior? The point is: we all make choices and statements with how we spend our money. I’m comfortable not spending my money at a place that has a temper tantrum over having to spend money to make our country a more liveable place. I can support the workers at my local, family-owned pizza place with the 20 dollars a month I spend on pizza.

      • Rick says:

        Why should I spend it at a place where the CEO spouts off at the mouth about how awful Obamacare will be for his business or how they are anti-gay marriage (Chik-fil-A)

        You missed my point. I wasn’t suggesting you patronize PJs. I don’t for the reason I stated. I was merely pointing out that the idea of attempting to help workers by reducing the revenue of their employer is counter productive.

        Example: my son used to be the general manager of a Dominos. His income was a moderate base salary + performance bonus. If the public decided to punish the CEO of Dominos by reducing or eliminating their patronage, the CEO of Dominos is not going to feel the pain as much as my kid losing out on income and a couple of his drivers losing their jobs. In the boycotter’s mind I’m guessing this must be just “collateral damage”.

        You might want to talk to a few “convenience food places” about how much of their revenue goes “straight to the top”. It’s typically less than 10%. The franchisee may net about 5-10% of profit after paying the costs of doing business. Labor is about 30-35% of the cost. So a successful boycott of PJ’s can be directly measured by the number of jobs lost and franchises that go under.

        I am a huge fan of freedom of choice. I’m libertarian that way. I’d prefer people (self included) make choices based on accurate information instead of kool-aid rhetoric. In my case, my choice to not patronize PJ’s is based on customer service issues, not CEO comments.

      • (BFing)Sarah says:

        Are you not reading what I wrote? I specifically referenced Chik-fil-a and Papa John’s and their CEO’s POLITICS, not their employee practices. I said nothing about franchisees, although, yes, I actually know a little bit about them given the fact that my husband practices that type of law and represents the parent companies. Thanks for mansplaining unrelated things to me, though. Also, you did realize that 30% of costs going to labor pays a hell of a lot more people (and includes additional costs) than the 10% that goes to the top right? I mean there are more employees at the register than executives…but you knew that, right? I’m sure you have heard of the pay gap between executives and their ground-level employees? FYI:

        http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/04/19/467516/ceo-pay-gap-2011/?mobile=nc

        Also, at no point did I say that I wanted to “help” employees by punishing the company. I said I do not want to support companies that have CEOs that say asshole things. That’s different. I can’t support everyone’s employees all the time, obviously, nor should I. I only have so much money. Why is your reason “I don’t like their pizza” better than “I don’t like their politics”? If Chik-fil-a gives money to fund anti-equality, why would I give them my money to help do that when I could go to Burger King instead? Both of those places have workers, correct? But, according to you, we should all refuse to boycott anyone because we should be equally dividing our money between ALL of the places that employ anyone so as to “support workers” (because that’s where my 5 dollars goes)? That honestly makes no sense.

  10. Susan says:

    I don’t really need another reason, as I like food that doesn’t give me the shits. However, the points in your post help.

  11. Ginny says:

    Applebees: Today, what was once a popular neighborhood restaurant has grown to become a popular restaurant in neighborhoods all across North America – with almost 2,000 locations and counting.

    Another American-built, American-owned company being destroyed by a forced requirement by a communist government. Loss of jobs, loss of revenue.

    • tomek says:

      can hear you what come out of your mouth?

      you sound like parody of right winger in comedy movie

    • EG says:

      Another American-built, American-owned company being destroyed by a forced requirement by a communist government.

      You need to read more carefully: Applebee’s is nowhere near destruction. The head of Applebee’s, however, is an asshole.

      Now answer me this, because I’m curious: have you ever met a communist? Like, a real one? The kind who actually reads Marx and/or Lenin and/or Trotsky and agrees? I have the impression that none of the right-wingers who call Obama and/or his administration “communist” have, because if they had, they would know the difference between this health care plan and a communist state.

      • Fat Steve says:

        You need to read more carefully: Applebee’s is nowhere near destruction. The head of Applebee’s, however, is an asshole.

        Sorry to be pedantic about this because Ginny’s comment was idiotic and you’re right to challenge her, but the head of Applebees is not mentioned in the OP, it’s a guy who owns 40 franchises (there are over 2000 Applebees restaurants.)

        The head of Applebees is called Julia Stewart:
        http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2007/fortune/0709/gallery.women_mostpowerful.fortune/49.html
        She may or may not be an asshole, I don’t know enough about her to say, but she looks like a rather nice person from her picture.

      • Jill says:

        Fair point, Steve. I hope if Julia Stewart is a decent person, or at least a decent businesswoman, she fires this guy who is mouthing off to the press about Obamacare.

      • EG says:

        Ah, it’s a fair cop! Sorry.

      • Stella says:

        Wouldnt that make her an asshole too if she fires the guy for speaking his mind? As much as he is an asshole for thinking somebody can go die if he can be easily replaced, he wasnt racist or any such.

        Then again one could argue she is afraid people will avoid the establishment like the plague when it is just one step above of flailing the employees in front of the customers and the step is necessary to protect the buisness (fiering him I mean no the flailing).

      • Jill says:

        Wouldnt that make her an asshole too if she fires the guy for speaking his mind? As much as he is an asshole for thinking somebody can go die if he can be easily replaced, he wasnt racist or any such.

        No. He works at a company which she owns. It’s part of his job to not make the company look bad.

      • William says:

        Fair point, Steve. I hope if Julia Stewart is a decent person, or at least a decent businesswoman, she fires this guy who is mouthing off to the press about Obamacare.

        Can you really fire a franchise owner? I mean, unless there some kind of clause in the franchise contract about not making an ass of yourself in public, I’m not certain theres any recourse the CEO would have against this douche canoe. Anyone know?

      • Fat Steve says:

        Can you really fire a franchise owner? I mean, unless there some kind of clause in the franchise contract about not making an ass of yourself in public, I’m not certain theres any recourse the CEO would have against this douche canoe. Anyone know?

        She could certainly speak out against him.

      • Henry says:

        The franchisors should start requiring their new franchisees to provide living wages, and health, and amend the old ones wherever possible – yu can do so via the franchise agreement. We should pay the real cost of a meal served by humans with rights (not wage slaves). Sorry, but 3.99 for a breakfast is not going to cover that and leave any kind of profit (excuse me wages – owners work too) behind for the owner or the franchisor.

    • RoryBorealis says:

      I call Poe’s Law.

  12. Stella says:

    Bottom line is these Nazis employ people only if they turn a profit to begin with. So “you got cancer? too bad go die ill just replace you” will still make money, just less money than before and if he expands his business he will make more money.

    So in the future he can either pass up a chance to expand and make more money, to make a point, throw a fit whatever, or he can just swallow it.

    We get hungry and cold eventually, so those of us whom cant do better will accept any job which will provide food and shelter. Those entrepreneurs crave money, sooner or later one of them will crack and expand and hire people, then the rest has to either come out of hissifit mode or watch the competition expand all over his butt.

    • Katniss says:

      Can we not call people Nazis? It’s a pretty offensive thing to just throw around like that.

      • Stella says:

        Okay people whom are looking for people to work to death in their facility and deny them assistance if they fall sick or ill, to replace them with the next occupants if they perish.

  13. roro80 says:

    In San Francisco, they recently implemented a city-wide program in which businesses that employ over 20 people have a number of options to help pay for their workers’ healthcare. Many restaurants now add a few percent to each bill, and note on the bill that it is for the program, so that the server who just served the customer, or the cook who just cooked the customer’s food, can have health care. Often the server will write a little hand-written “thank you!” on the bill next to that line. Most people (there are always a few cranks, but most) are kind of illuminated and happy at just having contributed to the well-being of a real, actual person who just served them. It personalizes it. What I’m saying is: it’s gone over pretty darn well.

    But: it is San Francisco, where we loudly and publically shame people for disliking LGBT people or not composting or patronizing businesses that are crappy to their workers, so even those who might be miffed by the surcharge know that saying so would likely be frowned upon by their dinner companions. I’m sure that there are lots of other areas where a larger number of restaurant patrons don’t think people who work hard for low wages deserve healthcare, and are proud to say so, and maybe that’s what this owner is banking on — threaten to raise the price of a $5.99 20oz steak by 3% so the person who served it can be treated when sick and oh no! The horror!

    • (BFing)Sarah says:

      I don’t mind if they pass off the cost of health care to the public, but it is going to make me less likely to go there than if they, say, pass off the cost of health care to the executives and their massive salaries and bonuses. If you are making a profit, as many successful businesses (Papa John’s 8.1% profit increase in 2011 to 1.22 billion really shows how Obama’s policies are ‘hurting’ them) are, why should the cost not come off of those profits that rather than from the pocket books of those of us that are not making shitloads of money? Their salaries should be 5 million instead of a ‘paltry’ 4,990,000? I don’t get why its alright to pass the costs off to the customer when the whole point is that the larger companies should pay into a health care system for their workers since they are skimping and not providing the health care as part of benefits.

      • EG says:

        Seriously. The whole point is that skimping on their employees’ compensation is part of what allows them to pay themselves so outrageously much.

  14. Stella says:

    But the absolute kicker is, they have like zero export. They dont produce at slave wages to spell expensively abroad. Their market is entierly domestic, they need Americans with fists full of dollars, so any measure that helps the riff raff they want to work to death and replace helps their buisness. How did Papa John fair since Obama took office? Didnt his stock price triple? Not bad considering ALL the major indices are not even break even.

  15. francesca says:

    I’m surprised by the arguments here and I have to wonder if I am missing something. Why are all the above arguments focussed on things like labor, racism, etc. Why does Feministe seem to consider the labor and identity aspect of so many issues, to the detriment of other problems? The US government subsidizes junk food and factory farming to the detriment of peoples’ health and the environment, surely that would be a good reason to boycott these places??

    • Jadey says:

      … Hence the title being “More reasons”. As in, “there are some reasons you might already have – here are some additional ones!”

      Also, fuck you and your “to the detriment”. Racism and harmful labour practices are actually kind of a big deal and they need to be discussed seriously. Talking about racism isn’t causing more problems. If you don’t give a shit about this, take your condescending, concern-trolling ass somewhere else.

  16. francesca says:

    I’m sorry but I really don’t think that level of hostility is called for! It’s partly concern, partly a kind of condescending/arguing I guess, and trying to work things out .. honestly. I think I mis-“spoke”, I’m not saying racism shouldn’t be discussed, I would like to know why this site is “biased” (or focussed or however you want to put it) so heavily towards labor and identity rather than health, environment etc. Those are a big deal too. And if you planning on saying something like “if they matter so much to you then fuck off and go away”, don’t bother. Ad hominen the defense of cowards you know?

    • Jadey says:

      To keep comments threaded, there is a “reply” function at the top of each comment.

      I did respond with hostility, because hostility is exactly what is called for when someone claims that discussing racism and exploitative labour practices is “to the detriment” of other issues that said commenter deems more important. That’s a bullshit statement that I will give all the respect it deserves: none. It isn’t cowardly at all to refuse to pay saccharine lip service to a repugnant opinion that I am thoroughly sick of seeing bandied about.

      But if you are retracting and apologizing for that statement, then I will retract my hostility.

      As for your other concerns, the wonderful thing about the Internet is that you can start blogging about *whatever* you like. Hell, you might even ask if you can do a guest post at Feministe! Jill and the other posters here (and the commenters) are discussing what is important to us, and, surprise surprise, we do talk about health and the environment as well! But that isn’t what this particular post was about. So quit your finger-wagging and do something more productive, like starting your own blog, if you want to contribute something, or by supplying your views in a comment that does more than demand that other people say what’s on your mind already.

      • francesca says:

        Hm, thanks that’s a good idea. To be fair to me, I didn’t “retract” the statement, I thought I clarified it was thoughtlessness rather than an ‘opinion’. Not everything is totally intentional in life! Anyways, thanks for the discussion.

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