Restaurant owner tries to work with Obamacare

It's going to be a tough road for one Jimmy John's franchise owner, but he's trying to plan for it and figure out a way.

By Kim Peterson Nov 28, 2012 3:02PM
Image: Medical doctor (tetra images/Getty Images/Getty Images)Restaurant owners are spitting mad about what implementing Obamacare will do to their already thin margins.

One Denny's franchisee threatened a 5% surcharge on meals, and suggested that customers could tip less. An Applebee's franchisee threatened to cut worker hours. Papa John's (PZZA) founder, John Schnatter, threatened to raise the cost of a pizza by as much as 14 cents and said he would "find tactics to shallow out any Obamacare costs."

So perhaps it is newsworthy, then, that one restaurant owner is simply going to try to make Obamacare work.

The Nebraska owner of 18 Jimmy John's franchises says he's going to figure out how to give his employees health care. "I'm trying to save for it and plan for it so I can comply with the government, provide health care and still pay for it," Dean Hodges said in an email to the Huffington Post.

Already, 38 of Hodges' 550 employees receive health care benefits because they are full-time employees. You can only get those benefits after working full-time for six months, and so another eight or nine workers will become eligible next year, the Post reports.

But the Affordable Care Act considers an employee working 30 or more hours a week a "full-time equivalent." Restaurants will have to insure them or pay them more so they can buy their own health insurance.

For Hodges, that means 150 more employees will be considered full time. And that's a huge new expense for his business. He told the Huffington Post that those 150 employees would add some $500,000 in premiums, making 10 of his 18 stores unprofitable.

This is a very tight spot to be in. But kudos for Hodges for talking about it rationally and showing exactly what he's dealing with under Obamacare. He's trying to do the right thing by his employees, but he's got a tough road ahead.

"We're not cold people who don't want to insure people," he told the Huffington Post. "It's not a nasty greediness on our part. But if I'm unprofitable I can't go on, I can't exist and I can't employ anyone."

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Tags: Food
1161Comments
Nov 29, 2012 6:30PM
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Obama care is the beginning of the end of our country as we knew it. Its the first step towards socialism and i truly believe they don't want your business to fail but it will anyway. Ask yourself have you seen anything that our top heavy gov. has ever done that makes since. How about cash for clunkers and stimulus hahahah

Nov 29, 2012 6:27PM
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I hope all the people who voted for Obama are reading these news stories and can actually do math to see what a loser they backed...again.

 

Beam me outs here Scotty.

Nov 29, 2012 6:26PM
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You people are morons for buying into this hype.  Every Tom, Dick and Harry that doesn't succeed needs an excuse for why they can't make it in this world, and all this is is the new scapegoat.  Every business has expenses, and this will now be one of those expenses.  How bad is it for us to pay an extra 14 cent for a pizza, or an extra dollar at the grocery store for our healthcare to be fixed.  We as a nation spend over 30% of our income on healthcare while every other decent nation spends 10 or less.  What kind of moron can look at that fact and think healthcare isn't broken?  Does 14 cent on a pizza make up for 30% of the income you used to buy it?  That's what it would have to equate to for it not to be worth it.  
Nov 29, 2012 6:25PM
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Nothing is free.

Do you remember Republicans saying that, now?

Nov 29, 2012 6:23PM
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I guess I'm just another "greedy" business owner.  If my business has to continue to shrink so I can stay in business and provide for my own children, then that's exactly what I'll do.  In the past few years as insurance rates have climbed I've let several people go, and switched my full time staff to part time. If my employees could trade places with me, they'd do the same, and I'd be the unemployed one.  
I tell every employee who walks out the door to understand our government's intervention into my business has caused their unemployment. 
For all of you who believe this is a political issue, I can assure you it's not. It's common sense. Wake up! 
 
Nov 29, 2012 6:21PM
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It's worth it to me to pay more for a healthy worker to prepare the food.  Fourteen cents a pizza is nothing in that situation. 
Nov 29, 2012 6:21PM
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I have lived and workerd in a socialized healthcare system in Canada. I left in 1992 and worked in Saudi Arabia and then came to the US in 1995 in healthcare.

Socialized medicine does not work, very high taxes and little or no access to the system. Canada only has 35 million people, the US 350 million plus undocumented.

This is a train wreck getting ready to happen !

Nov 29, 2012 6:20PM
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This is just wrong and shows the thinking of business men.  Yes, I think they are self-centered, uncaring slugs.  John Schnatter can afford to spend 250K to find his old 1970's camaro, but can't afford to provide insurance for his employees.  How can CEO's who make MILLIONS of dollars be uncaring?  We are one of the only countries on this planet who do not care for its workers.  Many other countries are successfully providing healthcare and are still doing well.  Yes, there are those who are not...greece, spain for example, but the ones who are doing well outnumber those who are not. I do believe in capitalism and making a profit, as well as self responsibility, but for folks who are making MILLIONS and thinking that because they have given someone a minimum wage job is such a wonderful way to shrug off further responsibility is annoying.  I do not have any sympathy for those business owners who can't give back to the employees, or gripe because thay aren't getting their huge bonuses.   I doubt I will ever eat Papa Johns again.

Nov 29, 2012 6:20PM
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They got my support!  I buy JJ sandwiches almost daily!
Nov 29, 2012 6:20PM
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Aren't we making the case for government funded healthcare for all?  The question should not be how can we now give our workers health insurance because of the Affordable Health Care Act, but why workers don't already have insurance?  Frankly, the burden should not be on business, but on our system of government.  Without universal coverage and change in the current system, more people are going to end up uninsured, driving up the cost of insurance for those that are insured.
Nov 29, 2012 6:19PM
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He should do what other people are doing.

1. Make them contract employees.
or
2. Cut there hours back.

Nov 29, 2012 6:18PM
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Listen I'm not a democrat but you guys are the crazy mob the guys who wrote the constitution were talking about. I worked in the restaurant field for 14 years. This is no different then any other cost. When the price of beef goes up. When the price of cheese goes up. When the price of gas goes up. ALL restaurants just raise the price. None of the OMG their going to lay everyone off stuff is going to happen. Its a bunch of garbage to be mad at the President because we didn't when. This is counterproductive and UN-American. We the republicans did this. We drove the deficit with the war and the dumbest tax break ever with the Bush Tax deal. As long as we keep crying about this we will keep losing elections. WE ARE WRONG and the Dem's know it and they are using it to kick our buts. We need to stop whining and give resolutions. Let me hear one real way that will bring down health care costs that most people will vote for. I hear crickets because there isn't one. Health care costs and everyone pays all around the world get over it.
Nov 29, 2012 6:16PM
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All of you voted for Obama--Now you are crying. It's too late, she's gone.
Nov 29, 2012 6:16PM
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Put the federal government and their families, including the president on  obamacare, and see how quickly they start screeming for change. 
Nov 29, 2012 6:16PM
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We do not need these people running businesses in this country. They are putting the money in there pockets and do not care about their employees.
Nov 29, 2012 6:16PM
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This problem has been growing in this country for a long time. No one wants to point a finger of blame but half the country wants to be considered a victim of society and racism. Look no further to whom is to blame. The takers are mostly minorities and they are well aware of how to use this system to thier benefit. They DON"T want to work as long as  they can live off of the Gov't. (our taxes). I have friends that are now getting food stamps that would have never even thought of doing so 5 years ago. They say they are tired of the takers getting these benefits they pay for so they now become takers as well to justify the situation. This is the road to socialism and it is all down hill from here. If you voted for it, don't bitch about it when it affects. I already have some friends saying, "well we did'nt know he was going to do this" or "this is not what I voted for." The people who voted for Obama voted mostly for their own benefits not for the good of the country as a whole. Welcome to the USSA!
Nov 29, 2012 6:16PM
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I looked at the comments below and can see the effect of Obamacare on small business. So now the small business owner gets added taxes and must pay for Obamacare. Looks like unemployment will go up to 10% after full implementation. 
Nov 29, 2012 6:16PM
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Again...government telling businesses how to run their businesses.  Again...government mandating businesses either pay Uncle Sam or give workers raises that they may not be able to afford to give.  Again...government making people buy something they either don't want or cannot afford.

Again...government working against the free market and manipulating the economy to their own ends.

Please tell me where the government gets this authority from.

 

Socialism?  You decide...

Nov 29, 2012 6:14PM
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I guess i'll be one of those who will be fined! I have never depended on the gov. and i never will. I'm not going to purchase this insurance are be a part of this socialist system. I never had much use for the uncaught crooked gov.                      
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