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Applebee’s CEO Threatens to Fire Employees and Freeze Hiring Because of Obamacare

Annie-Rose Strasser
Think Progress / News Report
Published: Saturday 10 November 2012
“The 40 Applebee’s restaurants in New York employ hundreds of people, and Tankel believes providing them with health insurance plans will be too costly.”
Article image

Zane Tankel, the CEO of Applebee’s New York Franchise, Apple-Metro, is so dedicated to not spending money on his employees that he’s refusing to hire anyone new. Why? Because he might have to provide them health care.

Under the Affordable Care Act, a business of 50 people or more must provide a health care option for its employees by 2014. The 40 Applebee’s restaurants in New York employ hundreds of people, and Tankel believes providing them with health insurance plans will be too costly. In an appearance on Fox Business News, the CEO said he won’t be able to hire new people because of the law, and even floated the idea of layoffs:

TANKEL: We’ve calculated it will be some millions of dollars across our system. So what does that say — that says we won’t build more restaurants. We won’t hire more people — exactly the opposite of what the President says.

HOST: Do you feel under pressure to move to a more part-time workforce, as other restaurants are doing because of Obamacare?

TANKEL: The model’s been set. I’m sure all our people are watching this right now, so I don’t want to make any commitments one way or another. I just want to say we’re looking at it, we’re evaluating it, if it’s possible to do without cutting people back, I’m delighted to do it. But that also rolls back expansion, it rolls back hiring more people, and in a best-case scenario we only shrink the labor force minimally.

Watch it:

It is virtually impossible that a company the size of Applebee’s will be able to avoid providing health care in the long-term — and it’s not really in their interest, either. Studies have shown that a company that provides health care has a higher retention rate for its employees, reports more employee satisfaction, and draws the best employees to the job.

And although providing his employees with affordable health insurance doesn’t seem to be a priority for Tankel, they likely have no other options when it comes to accessing health care. Many low-wage workers in the restaurant industry often don’t qualify for Medicaid because they earn salaries that are just barely over the threshold, but they also don’t make enough to be able to afford insurance on the private market.



Author pic
ABOUT Annie-Rose Strasser

Annie-Rose Strasser is a Reporter/Blogger for ThinkProgress. Before joining American Progress, she worked for the community organizing non-profit Center for Community Change as a new media specialist. Previously, Annie-Rose served as a press assistant for Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Annie-Rose holds a B.A. in English and Creative Writing from the George Washington University.

I suggest that the

I suggest that the appropriate responses to man's threats are the following:
BOYCOTT and STRIKE

Hello People: How do you

Hello People: How do you like going to any restaurant and being served by someone who should be home in bed because they are sick and have no paid sick leave or health insurance. i am sick and tired of these big chains and their crappy food and the disrespectful way they treat their employees. I agree with DWDALLAM. let them all close and make more room for real restaurants run by small buisness people who are more than likely to live in the community where they work.

Typical rich scumbag. How

Typical rich scumbag. How many full time workers does this dick actually have? Most servers are part-time. All of these crap restaurants use part-time workers to avoid any benefits. What would the advantage to being full-time be with no benefits?It is never enough for the rich pigs...what he would pay for insurance they piss out in booze and hookers. Boycott Applebees.

Does anyone know how much

Does anyone know how much money the upper echelon of Applebee makes, including benefits, options, and heaven forbid health care?

Hey Zane. by the way like the

Hey Zane.
by the way like the name.(but you suck)
first you depend on your customers to pay the lions share of your employees wages and then have the nerve to complain about what it may cost to offer a decent healthcare plan. i bet if your healthcare plan was jeopardized you'd
sing a different tune, or would you just lay yourself off.well none of that matters anymore since i will be boycotting your business from now and until you no longer work for this company. i know too many people who suffer the risks and consequences of no health insurance. in fact i just got back from visiting a friend who lost a foot because of diabetes which had to go untreated because of no health insurance. it took gangrene to get the medical care he needed months before. how stupid is that. take your cry baby shit back to your board room and tell the rest of your elitists you've just lost another customer. i know this won't effect you because your protected by your fat contract and when things get bad enough for the company you'll just sell it to Bain capital or another scavenger. you make me sick. but i can't go to the hospital cause i got no insurance.

Will NEVER eat there....EVER!

Will NEVER eat there....EVER!

Were I on Appleby's corporate

Were I on Appleby's corporate board, I would fire the CEO for being a horrible spokesman for the brand. He has proven, repeatedly, to the consuming public that the restaurant chain does not respect its employees enough to provide health care insurance. (It's the law.)

I do not go to restaurants or other businesses where the workers are mistreated. I haven't stepped inside WalMart for years. You have seen the deceptive Walmart ads about health care benefits. Tankel's anti-worker attitude will go viral quickly and the brand will and should suffer. They will spend a lot more money trying to clean up their image than it would have cost them to do right by the people who are making them rich. Tankel might just as well have put neon signs on every Appleby's: "We are lousy employers who want huge profits and no responsibility to the people who work hard to make us look good." Greed pure and simple. (And stupid.)

If Tankel wants to look like a good and moreover smart guy, he should be lobbying for Medicare For All. It would cost employers much less and every employee would be covered. The Obama deal was made to assuage the health care insurance profiteers who do nothing for the system but make it more costly. Tankel should turn on them, not his employees or President Obama.

Amen! There are too few of

Amen! There are too few of us willing to "vote" with our consumer dollars. If no one patronized businesses that polluted, stole or abused their employees, they'd change or go out of business. Period. Walmart has thrived because stupid people would rather save a few bucks on all the Chinese crap they don't need than go support some deserving local merchant and pay a little more.

Totally agree!

Totally agree!

Zane Tankel is a donkey

Zane Tankel is a donkey (substitute the more common name). If Appleby New Y0rk has any brains, they will fire him - without any benefits. The number of corporate cretins is truly amazing. It's not that other countries are not playing fair -- Romney's line -- but rather that American corporations are engaging in a systematic practice of hiring idiots to run them, and then overpaying the idiots.

WELL SAID.

WELL SAID.

Zane Tankel was a contributor

Zane Tankel was a contributor to the Romney campaign.. is any one surprised?

I don't have to boycott

I don't have to boycott Applebee's because of their CEO's ideological commitment. I've been boycotting them for years, simply because I don't care for their menus. I've come to think of it as "beer and beef" and little that's health-inducing. I survived a cardiac event and I became a vegan for 5 years. Now I'm a semi-vegetarian who eats fish and a little white poultry meat, and lots of fruits and veggies.

I never intended to punish the waiting staff by avoiding Applebee's, but with what they serve up to the customers, last time I was there, they should be providing health care to their patrons too.

Why would Applebee's want to

Why would Applebee's want to retain their workers. Do you want old farts like myself making and serving you food. People don't aspire to be Applebee's waiters. It is a temporary job until they can complete their education and get a better job. Also, as I mentioned in the previous post, if we could buy healthcare across state lines, some company would provide cheap insurance to young people. Today, young people pay much more as a group into health plans than they use in order to supplement the cost for us older folks. That is a fact!

Unbelievable thinking going

Unbelievable thinking going on here. Boycott businesses to punish the owner? Who do you really think is going to get hurt? Yes the waiters and bus boys who make minimum wage plus tips. Not only are they not going to have healthcare, they are not going to have jobs as well. (The vast majority of restaurant workers are young, and young people pay a disproportionate amount of money for healthcare to supplement the cost of us older people. Now is that fair?)

Or maybe these cheap assholes

Or maybe these cheap assholes will realize they have more to loose then the servers.The servers can get a low wage, no benefit, server jobs anywhere. Stop thinking of yourself..and consider the war against the working poor. You are part of the problem...in this rotten climate working people must stick together.

Applebees owners are in

Applebees owners are in Kansas City MO. The business is already hurting and not doing as well as it once did. To offset some of this, and perhaps, just perhaps there is real concern, they did open a lot of stores in the areas of NJ and NY that were hit by the Frankenstorm as soon as the could and have been staying open late, helping to get food to those who don't have any there. However, any CEO that plans on hurting his employees-his only contact with his customer base, is a fool. Because when word of that gets out, it turns people off to what he's trying to sell. Bad business plan, all around.

Here's a question for you:

Here's a question for you: why in any story like this, which is obviously political, why do we not read the political affiliation of the CEO? Seriously, if a governor or senator speaks on cable we see an (R) or (D) by their name and that helps make sense of what they are saying. What is the party affiliation of the person who decided to lay off people or refuse to hire any more, knowing that if enough CEOs refuse to hire we will see the nation sink into another recession? Simple question and we could see that, for instance, a Republican CEO is punishing people in order to hurt Obama, or things are so bad that a Democrat CEO is having to stop hiring and lay people off. That would be informative, even more informative than many of the quotes in the article. Since the subject is political in nature, let's see what the Party is doing about this.

I found this article about GM

I found this article about GM very interesting.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/louiswoodhill/2012/08/15/general-motors-is-h...

"It should be somewhat

"It should be somewhat obvious that people like this are simply
using "Obamacare" as a lame excuse to cover for what they
wanted to do in the first place. Big corporate chains like this
benefit greatly by cutting hours, increasing prices, and
laying-off employees, and when they see an opportunity to do so
without the public fallout, they take it. This is one of those
times. These are shrewd businessmen looking to make gains and
increases in their bottom lines by any means they can, so
before some of you prove how dumb you are by buying everything
people like this claim without so much as a single critical
thought of your own, perhaps it's worth exploring the remote
possibility that the job of a CEO is to make more money for
their investors, their board, and themselves before the welfare
of their employees or consumers. I know, what a shock."
(Comment by Nick Montana in Huff Post speaking of Papa Johns)

So...TRUE!

So...TRUE!

If the primary role of a CEO

If the primary role of a CEO is to " make more money for their investors" at any cost, why not use slave labor? The absurdity of this approach assumes that employees are not essential to the success of an organization. They are no more important than the computers or telephones used by the organization.
This CEO. Assumes that the public will either not know about his stance, or they won't care. I don't think so! Customers vote with their wallets. Why shouldI contribute to Appleby's bottom line when I can go across the street to another restaurant! My wallet will never cross your door again!

No, it is not the main thing

No, it is not the main thing for a CEO to make money for investors-that is greed talking. What any CEO should be doing, is running a company he, employees and investors should be proud of, that is good to customers and fair to employees. When those two things happen, the business does well and investors profit, too. The tack this CEO has taken is NOT treating employees well, which angers the public, loses customers and makes a loss for company and stockholders. Pooooooorrrr business plan all around.

Any restaurant which does not

Any restaurant which does not provide health care and paid sick leave to employees has no business serving food to the public. I am on the verge of deciding not to dine out anymore. Sick food handlers, sick cooks and sick waiters pass their germs to patrons. Conversely, healthy restaurant employees contribute to a disease-free experience. Experience has taught me that the more "low end" the restaurant the more frequently I come down with some food-borne illness.
Thanks for letting me know which restaurant won't get my business...

My same sentiments-I realize

My same sentiments-I realize that boycotting isn't very effective, choosing not to eat out is very much a sound idea-the less eating out, the odds of staying healthier is better. But, to boycott restaurants, as in any other target of retribution for a political end-does only harm to workers. But passing up on Applebee's for another is a good idea and perhaps, this moronic CEO may get it-dwindling customers is not good politics.

Absolutely right. Reason my

Absolutely right. Reason my husband never wants to eat out. CEOs are trying to marginalize their employees so much. I will not be going to Applebees or Papa Johns pizza as they disregard their employees welfare.

This seems to be an epidemic.

This seems to be an epidemic. At least this boss had the guts to identify himself unlike the yellow bellied coward mentioned on Democracy Now

Las Vegas Business Owner Fires 22 "Mostly Hispanic" Workers over Obama Re-Election
\
A man claiming to be a business owner in Las Vegas has publicly announced he has fired 22 of his more than 114 "mostly Hispanic" employees because of President Obama’s re-election. Speaking anonymously to the radio station KSNT, the man blamed the expected costs of President Obama’s healthcare law.

"David": "I explained to them a month ago, if Obama gets in office, the regulations for 'Obamacare' are going to hurt our business, and I am going to have to make provisions to make sure I have enough money to cover the payroll taxes, the additional healthcare I’m going to have to do. And I explained that to them, and I said, 'You do what you feel in your heart you need to do, but I'm just letting you know as a warning this is things that I have to think of as a business owner.’ Well, unfortunately, the — and most of my employees are Hispanic, I’m not going to go into what kind of company I have, but I have mostly Hispanic employees. Well, unfortunately, we know what happened. I can’t wait around anymore. I need to be proactive. I had to lay off 22 people today to make sure that my business is going to thrive and that I’m going to be around for years to com

Methinks the employer wanted

Methinks the employer wanted to lay off the employees anyway, and used the election as an excuse. His business was shrinking. No thriving enterprise lays off almost a fifth of its workforce because of costs that may, or may not, arise a year in the future.

Any so-called "business" that

Any so-called "business" that chooses not to provide health care insurance coverage to its employees has no business being in business. Hey, Tankel, time for you to fold up your tent and go home. Somehow, I have a feeling that you are not stinting on your own compensation, perks and benefits, likely including a top-notch, top of the line, so-called Cadillac (maybe it should be called Mercedes or Maybach or Ferrari or something) health insurance plan. Guys like you pay their employees peanuts. These employees then have to seek out free and or charity health care, if they can find it. Perhaps they qualify for Medicaid and/or food stamps and other government programs. So, greedy shills like you transfer the cost of your businesses to the taxpayers - that means me, among others. And you know what, you cheap bum, I don't want to pay your expenses whether or not I eat at your crummy restaurants. Poor baby - probably pays himself quite the nice salary, pension, bonuses, top of the line perks and health care and then turns around and treats his employees like plantation field slaves. Tankel, the essence of leadership - don't ask your employees to do anything that you would be unwilling to do. There are other aspects of leadership, but I'm not bothering to go into them because you're a greedy blood-sucking capitalist who takes care of himself and then lets the devil take the hindmost. Hit the road, you bum, you and your crummy restaurants aren't welcome here any more. This is why they have revolutions and why totalitarian governments come to power, idiots like this. I got mine, you go scratch. Well, Tankel, you go scratch. We don't want or like your kind around here any more.

Applebees has the gall to

Applebees has the gall to complain about the cost of health care.
The horrible unhealthy food they serve adds to the cost of health care that we all pay for. I hope they go out of business and are replaced by local independent
restaurants. They obviously have no more respect for their empliyees then they do for their customers.

He should pay it and raise

He should pay it and raise the prices a bit if he needs to. I do feel it would be so much better if we had single payer in a case like this. A larger restaurant still needs to keep costs down and certainly health care is not cheap. A competitor can save this cost and be more competitive.

This should not be an issue. I hope we evolve to single payer soon!!!!!

We could have maybe had

We could have maybe had single payer if Obama had even entertained the idea. His "everyone at the table to discuss healthcare" as he likes to brag about included a bunch of insurance companies, the AMA, doctors and not a single proponent of single payer. It's the cost stupid. Any FOR PROFIT health care system is obviously much more be expensive than NOT FOR PROFIT. Anyone knows that!!! America is so much dumber than the rest of the world. What a shame.

"America" is not dumber per

"America" is not dumber per se, but the American political system is more corrupt than any other Western nation and the Congress is so focused on getting the best lobbying job after leaving office that they have no interest in actually doing their job: serving the people. Actually America is in fact dumbing down but still there are millions who are still in touch with reality. Try to remember that Obama takes his orders from certain people who have been running things for a decade or so and what he does makes sense for them and that is who he serves, his future employers. If he were to tell the truth and work 100% for the American People (big P) his children would in all probability be shot by a sniper as they left the White House to go to school. The sniper would be a lone gunman who would be killed in a firefight with the Secret Service. Obama would be properly chastised.

Even talking about the

Even talking about the assassination of the President's children is off base. I hope that the Secret Service becomes familiar with your name. Just stay in your mother's basement and play with your video games. Sick!

Zane, I don't care whether

Zane, I don't care whether you go out of business or not. I don't like chain bar/restaurants and prefer patronizing independent,local business people. Having said that, President Obama is not going to back down on his signature achievement to date: health care reform. So it seems to me that the best option for business persons who don't want to have to buy health insurance for their employees would be to join us radicals and start lobbying Congress (and especially the Republicans) for the best possible healthcare option all around: Single Payer. Under Single Payer, the government picks up the tab and you don't have to worry about it. And the Catholic Church doesn't have to worry about birth control as that becomes the government's problem. The Church should start campaigning for Single Payer too.

From the comments I read it

From the comments I read it appears the readers intend to punish Applebees by boycott. What happens to a company when it get's less business? It might go out of business, and then all your workers can try to get unemployment compensation, right? There's a report out now that GM may go bankrupt again, even though they never paid back the tax-payer's bailout. A lot of solar companies going bankrupt. A lot of companies are leaving the US - like Phizer. And Obama plans to shut down lots of coal mine companies, and gas and oil companies. Those workers won't get health insurance either - they'll be unemployed. But are you going to boycott Obama? Has it occurred to any of you that you've been deceived?

THIS IS ONE OF SEVERAL

THIS IS ONE OF SEVERAL COMMENTS MENTIONING THAT THE EMPLOYEES WOULD SUFFER IF APPLEBYS WENT UNDER.
may i remind the readers that when one business dies if the market for that type of business still exists then one or more businesses will open to cover the lost . the workers will be restored probably in a better environment.

You don't read much news, do

You don't read much news, do you? "Obamacare" allows for subsidized healthcare for those recently laid off or chronically poor. The fired employees would have the same healthcare as the employed. Most of your fears are promoted by Faux News and are pure BS and lies and you must know that by now, but you play along. Obama is not going to shut down any industries during a recession. He will require that they stop tearing off mountains and polluting ground water, he may require that the smokestacks stop belching deadly fumes into our overheated atmosphere. BUt he won't close down the industries, the CEOs will do that because they want to be billionaires and he is restricting them to only being millionaires. Greed. That will shut down any industry...but for how long? What is to stop a consortium of Green developers using less polluting methods from buying the closed down oil well, or coal mine and running it under the new standards? Oh you'd scream they could not do it, but you also think Obama is a Socialist so he'd take the money out of drone development (fat chance that) and put it to subsidizing green energy technology. The solar businesses are doing just fine up here in the northeast, thank you, lots of panels going up and plenty of people employed in energy conservation jobs. We just paid a couple of men to come up and check out the insulation, ventilation and heat loss in our little house and supply plans to correct important issues. I bet you only see what you want to believe and avoid any other opinions except when you are arguing against them.

You should seriously consider

You should seriously consider getting information from different sources than the source of the information in your post, all of which is untrue.
GM paid back the gov't. loans, there are more and more solar companies every day, like all new businesses, some fail, companies leave the US to take advantage of almost slave labor conditions in Asia, and lastly, the President of the United States cannot just "shut down" coal, oil, gas, or any other kind of company.
You've been lied to, but you seem to enjoy it.

The GM loans have been paid

The GM loans have been paid back. Please try living in reality. And if I offer you a loan to pay this month's bills I am not bailing you out. Now if I pay your bills and ask nothing in return; that's a bailout.

Really this guy is just

Really this guy is just trying to get somebody to notice him. These corporate clones are sheep-like. Threatening employee is the new thing for them. They're all terrified because they don't have the white male authority figure at the helm. They can't fathom a non-corporate world where anybody but them exists But if things keep on going the way they're going, these clones are going to find out there are a lot of other people out there and they don't worship money like white male corporate clones.

Now I'll have to find another

Now I'll have to find another place to go for an extensive menu of nuked frozen items dropped into a deep fryer. How late is Denny's open?

Isn't that the place where

Isn't that the place where they wouldn't serve the African Americans, or they had to sit across the room, or something?

That was Cracker barrel

That was Cracker barrel

make sure and boycott the

make sure and boycott the parent company DINEquity (DIN) make it hurt them at all their restaurants. Dine Equity Inc. (NYSE Euronext (NYX):DIN) operates Applebee's and the International House of Pancakes (IHOP), well-known sweatshops.

Thanks...IHOP is on the list.

Thanks...IHOP is on the list.

No problem, I will NEVER

No problem, I will NEVER patronize those restaurants again.

Another sound business

Another sound business decision from those wonderful people who brought you the "bottom line" philosophy.......only now they have morphed into "bottom feeders"

what do you mean

what do you mean "morphed"--most capitalists put money before humans.

Why is this greedmonger

Why is this greedmonger blaming his employees for the price of insurance? He needs to be threatening the INSURANCE EXECUTIVE GREEDMONGERS--they're the ones who are "costing him millions." His employees are MAKING him millions-the greedmongers at the insurance companies are the ones COSTING him millions.
If you're going to threaten somebody, make sure it's the right party.

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