Denny’s and its financial PR agency are working to distance the eatery chain from a franchise owner who has drawn national attention after outlining plans to raise prices to cover what he says will be increased costs from Obamacare.
Denny’s CEO John Miller, in a statement from ICR, said this week that the comments of franchise-owner John Metz, who urged customers to reduce their tips to offset the increased cost, do not reflect the company’s views.
“I am confident his perspective is not shared by the company or hundreds of franchisees [and] small business owners who make up the majority of the Denny's community,” said Miler. “Specifically, his comments suggesting that guests might reduce the customary tip provided to their server as an offset to his proposed surcharge are inconsistent with our values and approach to business throughout our brand.”
Earlier this week, Metz told media outlets, including Fox News and the Huffington Post, that he will cut back employee hours and raise prices because of costs of insuring employees under the Affordable Care Act. He said customers will have the choice to reduce the amount of tip they give their server to cover the increase.
After outrage and boycott threats over his comments, Metz backed off the remarks somewhat to say his company, West Palm Beach, Fla.-based RREMC, which also owns Hurricane Grill and Wings eateries, will explore “viable and effective ways” to offset costs and stressed that his policies are not representative of the Denny’s brand.
Metz works with Los Angeles-based Konnect PR.
Since President Barack Obama’s re-election virtually assured survival of the Affordable Care Act, leadership and franchise owners of other chain restaurants like Applebee’s and Papa John’s have griped publicly about costs they believe will follow from Obamcare.