Few things grab the public’s attention like a celebrity-backed boycott, protest, or backlash against a specific brand or company. Today, Wendy’s and Taco Bell find themselves on the wrong end of just this sort of upheaval.
Roughly 100 Wendy’s employees in the Omaha, Nebraska area will have their weekly schedules reduced to 28 hours a week so that they will no longer qualify for the health care benefits that “Obamacare” mandates for full-time employees. A Taco Bell in Guthrie, Oklahoma enacted a similar policy.
Even though these underhanded approaches seem unique to these specific franchises, the backlash against the Wendy’s and Taco Bell corporations has been swift. Celebrities like Castle star Nathan Fillion and comedian Sarah Silverman voiced their outrage via Twitter, and many people pledged to avoid not just those specific locations, but all restaurants owned by the chains in question.
Generally, when situations like this arise, it’s a good PR move for the company to publicly distance itself from the offending franchise. For example, when a Florida Denny’s added a 5% “Obamacare surcharge” to its customers’ checks (yes, really), the company’s CEO publicly admonished the franchise’s owner, thereby making it abundantly clear that the Denny’s corporation did not in any fashion support or encourage such policies. We imagine it’s only a matter of time before Taco Bell and Wendy’s make similar public statements–with major Hollywood voices spreading the word, they should probably do so sooner rather than later.