Papa John’s will now cover all employees, Denny’s CEO ‘disappointed’ in franchise owner’s statements

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.

Image: Salon










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.

  • Realistically speaking

    This poor misunderstood man, who did not speak up until after his candidate got his ass whooped.

  • BrooklynDame

    The power of activism! …and I wouldn’t believe for a second that he’s had any change of heart or cares about his employees (and his pizza is still lousy).

  • Jim Robinson

    I do not understand??? He should be moor than happy to give his employees
    health care and do moor for all of them! He has made a fortune via there hard work and he should do
    better for those that have enriched his wealth & life so much!

    It’s pure greed that drives these Millionaires and Billionaires How much
    money is enough???

    • Frances Langum

      It’s a belief on the part of certain 1% ers, that if you own a business, your serfs/employees are not an asset, they’re just a drain on YOUR income, and that real wealth comes from the stock market. It’s time (again, sigh) for workers to organize and demand to be treated with dignity and force the bosses to recognize that competent LABOR is an asset to any company. We’ve also got to get the money out of politics.

    • John Gomez

      Jim you are an example of what America WAS…For every problem that arises….they NOW blame the worker….

  • PatronOfTheDay

    Maybe it was that nasty e-mail I sent his company, after I rejected the free pizza offer.

  • Terra Gazelle

    Unless the employer has 50 employees he does not have to provide the ACA..but if he does he will get a tax credit. It might do them good to at least know what the facts are.

  • John Franks

    LOL they are shitting their pants. Papa Johns is dead to me. Dennys….too late to be sorry.

    • Samantha Hilton

      Ditto that! Denny’s food sucks and Papa John’s and Jimmy John’s food is just as bad! Go online and google at the mansion he lives in!

    • Cat Amanigh

      You realize Denny’s was not a company wide thing, that was a 40-store franchisee who did those dickish things.

  • Uggymunkey

    I’m liberal, and the first article I read said that papa johns had told shareholders he would increase pizza costs y 10-14 cents, but that the shareholders balked at the idea. I would pay the extra money as opposed to supporting a company that let its employees go or cut hours to avoid saving lives. But John schnatter was never the villain as far as I know. So it would be nice to see people not calling for boycotts based on the opinions of a few or misinformation. I don’t even like papa johns but lets be fair.

  • Dem CEO suck also

    Anomaly, I see you have made a career out of papa John. Lets see how you spin this. Ursala Burns CEO of Xerox and a staunch Obama fan. She went before the stock market and lays off another 2500 (not 175) on top of the 10,000 she has fired in her career as CEO. Then the following day goes to the White House to be on Obama’s job creation committee. Most all of the jobs she has eliminated have been outsourced to other country’s. Meanwhile she continues to increase her pay and bonus.

    • jess 75894

      And those pricks need to be highlighted as well!!

    • That Guy

      His (Anomaly’s) link results in just 4 articles. Is that what you call a “career” and instead of deflecting, why not stay on topic?

  • jess 75894

    Unfortunately their businesses and employees will suffer due to the boycotts? They should have done the right thing to begin with and not after the fact. They need to take a hard look in the mirror because they built that!

  • doublestop

    Boycotts are generally stupid. The ideal is fine, but the reality is that boycotts rarely hurt the intended target and wind up hurting everyone else. This situation is a perfect example. One franchise owner says stupid shit and another, completely unrelated, franchise owner (including those employed by the franchise) might suffer as a result. A proper boycott would be a logistical nightmare. I realize this probably appears like I’m trolling, but I assure you I am not. I just don’t see boycotts really working without a lot of collateral damage.