Fast-food franchisees will have to be dragged to a forced employee health insurance program, if Janney chain-restaurant analyst Mark Kalinowski's 40th (quarterly, formerly bimonthly) survey of McDonald's operators is a guide.
Kalinowski asked 29 operators of 192 U.S. Mickey Ds about business conditions, and added a special question about how Congress's mandatory health insurance proposals would affect their stores. Operators estimated it would add $40,000 to $150,000 to yearly operating expenses, per store.
And boy, did they squawk: "It will crush us." "The business will no longer make sense." "It will affect hiring and salary decisions." "I hope (the non-compliance) penalty is tax deductibile!"
Plus: "Dollar Menu for all competitors will be gone."
But McDonald's franchisees aren't just scared of what Congress will do. They also rate the economy just 2.2 on a scale of 1 to 5 - lowest in the survey's history, according to Kalinowski. They rate relations with the parent McDonald's corporation even worse - just 1.7, below the 2.2 survey average - after poorly-received McCafe and Monopoly promotions and relentless demands for restaurant upgrades financed by franchiser profits or loans.