It's a Rough Day for Papa John's

Company faces lawsuit, boycott

By Liam Carnahan,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 14, 2012 7:00 AM CST

(Newser) – One large pepperoni, a text-message scandal, and a boycott on the side, please. Papa John's is in the middle of a big mess on two fronts, one in court and one in the media. Here's a look at both:

  • Papa John's is in the midst of a drawn-out $250 million class-action lawsuit for allegedly sending millions of unsolicited texts to customers back in 2010. Some plaintiffs allege that they received as many as 16 texts in a row, sometimes in the middle of the night, reports CNN. They're suing for $500 per text, but could end up getting triple that pending the jury's decision.

  • Meanwhile, Papa John's CEO John Schnatter is under fire after saying last week that, in the wake of Obama's win, franchise owners may opt to cut shifts for full-time employees to less than 30 hours per week to avoid having to offer them health benefits, as per ObamaCare, reports Kentucky's Courier-Journal.
  • It didn't take long for reactions to start pouring in, with calls for a boycott of the pizza franchise. A Facebook Page for the protest already has more than 1,500 likes, and a Reddit post about the matter has garnered more than 4,000 comments.
  • Caleb Melby, writing for Forbes, took a look at the math behind Schnatter's claims that ObamaCare will force him to hike pie prices by 10 to 14 cents. That math might work out if you only look at large pizza sales, but on average, he figures the increase should only be 3.4 to 4.6 cents a pie.
  • On last night's Daily Show, Jon Stewart also did some (hasty) math, and figures that to offset health-care costs (which Schnatter estimates at $8 million), Papa John's needs to sell another million or so pizzas. That should be easy, he says, since the company once ran a promo advertising 2 million free pizzas. He advises Schnatter to instead “take all the millions you donated for partisan political purposes and pump it back" into health-care advances that could be good for business.
  • Not everyone is hating on Papa John's, however. More than 14,000 Facebook users have RSVPed to a National Papa John's Appreciation Day for this Friday, started by a group called Reboot USA, which compares it to the Chick-fil-A frenzy back in August. Supporters are urged to buy an extra pizza and donate it to someone in need.

COMMERCIAL IMAGE In this photograph taken by AP Images for Papa John's, Papa John's Founder, Chairman, and CEO John Schnatter autographs an illustration.
COMMERCIAL IMAGE In this photograph taken by AP Images for Papa John's, Papa John's Founder, Chairman, and CEO John Schnatter autographs an illustration.   (Ross Dettman/AP Images for Papa John's)
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Jon Stewart on Papa John's   (TheDailyShow.com)
Jon Stewart on the Papa John's controversy.   (Comedy Central)

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