Darden Restaurants says it won't bump any full-time workers down to part-time status, after its tests aimed at limiting health-care costs result in publicity backlash that negatively affected sales

Nevin Barich

Nevin Barich

Dec 6, 2012 – PR Newswire

ORLANDO, Florida , December 6, 2012 (press release) – Darden Restaurants, Inc. (DRI) today provided an update on its full-time staffing plans for 2014 following thorough testing of potential changes in the composition of its workforce in connection with healthcare reform. The company has determined that:

None of Darden's current full-time employees, hourly or salaried, will have their full-time status changed as a result of healthcare reform.

Each of Darden's new and existing restaurants will have full-time hourly employees because that is what it takes to fully deliver the experiences guests expect.

In 2014, all of Darden's full-time employees, including hourly, salaried and executive employees, will have access to the same insurance plan coverage.

Darden's current full-time population includes approximately 45,000 employees.

Darden Chairman and CEO Clarence Otis commented: "Although our workforce historically has been heavily part-time, we have always had a significant number of full-time employees and they are integral to our success. The data we have collected during our test around guest satisfaction and employee engagement has only reinforced this. As we think about healthcare reform, while many of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's rules and regulations have yet to be finalized, we are pleased we know enough at this point to make firm and hopefully reassuring commitments to our full-time employees."

About Darden Restaurants

Darden Restaurants, Inc., (DRI), the world's largest full-service restaurant company, owns and operates more than 2,000 restaurants that generate over $8.0 billion in annual sales. Headquartered in Orlando, Fla., and employing 185,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people. In 2012, Darden was named to the FORTUNE "100 Best Companies to Work For" list for the second year in a row and is the only full-service restaurant company to ever appear on the list. Our restaurant brands – Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V's and Yard House – reflect the rich diversity of those who dine with us. Our brands are built on deep insights into what our guests want. For more information, please visit www.darden.com.

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