As for the impact of any boycott, Burke noted that all Papa John’s stores in Ohio are franchise-owned, not corporate-owned. Any boycott would simply hurt employees of a family-run business — “the very people that protesters say they’re trying to help,” he said.
Schnatter, who told stock analysts in August that President Obama’s health-care program would force the company to raise its prices 11 to 14 cents per pizza, said last week that his Louisville-based chain’s franchise owners would likely cut full-time workers’ hours to under 30 a week to avoid having to offer them health insurance. The health-care law requires that businesses with 50 or more full-time-equivalent employees offer insurance or face penalties.
The CEO’s comments prompted calls for a boycott and the creation of a “Boycott Papa John’s” Facebook page that had 2,114 “likes” as of late Thursday afternoon. Those efforts prompted Papa John’s supporters to promote “National Papa John’s Appreciation Day” for today, using the Facebook page and social media notices.
A staff writer for Forbes magazine wrote a story for the magazine’s website saying that based on his analysis of Papa John’s financial filings, the increased costs associated with the new health-care laws would likely add 3.4 to 4.6 cents to the cost of a pizza, rather than the 11 to 14 cents that Schnatter claimed.
Meanwhile, Fox News reported Thursday that a Florida restaurateur who operates about 40 Denny’s locations intends to add a 5 percent surcharge to customers’ bills to offset costs from the new health-care law beginning in January 2014, when the law takes full effect.