Restaurant Chain Fears Backlash over ObamaCare Opposition

Forecast for next year includes possibility of customer boycott


Darden Restaurants, owner of Red Lobster and Olive Garden, fears a backlash from customers angry about its efforts to convert more workers into part-time positions so it can avoid paying for their health care.

How concerned is the chain? So much so that the world's largest full-service restaurant company used a veiled reference to this possible boycott as partly to blame for its lowered 2013 forecast.

"Our outlook for the year also reflects the potential impact, though difficult to measure, of recent negative media coverage that focused on Darden within the full-service segment and how we might accommodate healthcare reform," said Clarence Otis, Darden CEO, in Tuesday's news release.