Now that the Supreme Court has weighed in on the legality of the Affordable Care Act, food service executives are beginning to weigh in on what the ramifications will be for their industry.

The news is not good.

Dawn Sweeney, the President and CEO of the National Restaurant Association had this to say:

Based on the Supreme Court’s ruling to uphold the law, employers with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees must offer “affordable” health insurance of minimum value to full-time employees and their dependents or pay penalties. The cost of such coverage or the penalties could threaten the very slim profit margin on which most restaurants operate.

Leslie Sarasin from the FMI adds:

uncertainty still remains for food retailers in every community in this country.“As employers, food retailers will need to follow government agencies’ yet-to-be-released criteria for determining which employees are required to be offered health coverage under PPACA and whether that employer-offered coverage, as required under the new law, is deemed ‘affordable’ and passes the ‘minimal value’ requirements in the statute. Within the coming 18 months, federal agencies must issue new regulations covering all of these issues and more, and each company across the industry will be forced to decide how best to adjust its health coverage and work schedules, to comply with the new law – or whether to simply withdraw from offering coverage and pay any penalties that may be required.

Bob Stallman from the American Farm Bureau Federation believes that health-care related expenses will only rise with the Affordable Care Act - not go down.

“We believe one of the primary goals of health care reform should be to reduce costs for participants. The plan reviewed by the Supreme Court would impose a new financial burden on our members. As the legal and political interpretation of this ruling is further analyzed and debated in the weeks and months ahead, it is important to remember that access to affordable health care eludes many American families across the country.

“Farm Bureau has always supported market-based reforms as the best way to control costs and increase options for people and small businesses that purchase insurance for themselves and their employees. Moving forward, we encourage Congress and the President to work together to address our remaining concerns on this issue that affects millions of small business owners and individuals throughout rural America.”

It's easy to see that the Supreme Court's ruling on Obamacare will have consequences for food service - just like every other industry in America.

Food industry reacts to Supreme Court decision - The Packer.