In an op-ed on the Huffington Post written by Papa John’s founder, John Schnatter, he wrote of being taken out of context, and that his intentions regarding the implementation of Obamacare for Papa John’s employees have been misunderstood. Good to know. But, some reports were not taken out of context — such as his statement that covering employees would cost 11 to 14 cents per pizza, when in fact, it would cost approximately 4 cents.
So we’ll mark this up as the moment Papa John evolved.
Schnatter reports that he is ‘better off.’ (My words, not his). The quote:
The fact is we are going to open over hundreds of stores this year and next and increase employment by over 5,000 jobs worldwide. And, we have no plans to cut team hours as a result of the Affordable Care Act.
Companies like Papa John’s are largely a collection of small independent businesses. The average Papa John’s franchisee owns three to four stores. Since our franchisees own the restaurants they operate, who they hire, how many hours they give each employee and what they pay each employee is up to them, not me or Papa John’s. Like any small business in these economic times, our franchisees are under a tremendous amount of pressure on costs.
During that same interview, talking about Obamacare I said, though it wasn’t widely reported:
- “The good news is 100% of the population (full-time workers) is going to get health insurance. I’m cool with that.”
- “We’re all going to pay for it. There’s nothing for free.”
- “And this way I get to provide health insurance and I’m not at a competitive disadvantage … our competitors are going to have to do the same thing.”
Papa John’s, like most businesses, is still researching what the Affordable Care Act means to our operations. Regardless of the conclusion of our analysis, we will honor this law, as we do all laws, and continue to offer 100% of Papa John’s corporate employees and workers in company-owned stores health insurance as we have since the company was founded in 1984.
On the same day, Denny’s franchise owner John Metz was contacted by Denny’s chief executive John Miller to let him know of his ‘disappointment’ for statements made about Obamacare in which Metz announced that he planned to charge customers at his restaurants 5 percent more, and tag it as an Obamacare fee. Metz’s statement came across as a punishment, “Customers have two choices: They can either pay it and tip 15 or 20 percent, or if they really feel so inclined, they can reduce the amount of tip they give to the server.” (emphasis mine). So the option is to punish customers or their own employees. What lovely options. But, there is one more: Don’t eat at Denny’s, to which they respond with another threat of sorts:
“We recognize his right to speak on issues, but registered our disappointment that his comments have been interpreted as the company’s position,” Miller said in an email sent to The Huffington Post.
Not long after the comments were made by Metz, Abdo Mouannes, an owner of seven Denny’s in Florida, said that his restaurants were inundated with angry phone calls. “The manager said it was so frustrating, she wanted to unplug the phone,” Mouannes told HuffPost. “People didn’t like what they heard and were saying they wouldn’t support Denny’s, but we have nothing to do with that decision. I am not a fan of the idea. We are opposing the 5 percent [surcharge] — it’s not even a consideration for us.”
Sounds good so far, but:
Mouannes said that he was not planning to layoff workers or cut employee hours because of Obamacare but might have to do so if boycotts occur. “I’m not in favor of cutting employees, but if there is no demand, we will be pushed to do this,” he said. “Unfortunately, if there are boycotts, it’s going to come down to hurting our operations, hurting our employees. There will be people hurt across the board.”
What a coinky dink. For whatever reason that both CEOs decided to speak up — on the same day over the same issue which prompted an onslaught of activism when the two companies practices — which appeared to be partisanship over the concern of their own employees, I applaud it. Just do the right thing.
We’ve been watching Papa John’s moment in politics, much to our dismay — We’re happy to report good news for a change. As for the other CEOs who threatened their employees by directing them on who to vote for, or else, get with the program.