Darden Restaurants Inc. Suffers Loss in Profits Due to Cutting Back Workers' Hours

| by Michael Allen

Darden Restaurants Inc., which owns Olive Garden, Red Lobster and LongHorn Steakhouse, saw a downturn of profits this year, in part, by a publicity backlash from hiring more part-time workers to replace full-time workers and cutting back hours of full-timers.

Starting in 2014, Darden Restaurants Inc. will be required to provide health insurance to full-time workers per Obamacare, reports

Darden Restaurants Inc. has claimed that the hours and employee changes were simply a "test" to see how the company could best accommodate Obamacare rules.

During a recent conference call with analysts, Darden Restaurants Inc. CEO Clarence Otis said that media coverage was a "secondary issue" that hurt the quarterly results. Otis claimed that the media "misinterpreted our actions as a stand against health care reform."

Darden Restaurants Inc. has since said it will not move any full-time workers to part-time status as a result of  Obamacare.

Darden Restaurants Inc. also faces stiff competition from Chipotle Mexican Grill and Panera Bread, which are popular among diners in their 20s and 30s.