The day after the presidential election, Papa John's pizza chain CEO John Schnatter, a Romney supporter, declared that he would have to raise prices to cover the cost of providing health insurance to his employees under Obamacare.
One of the first people to respond was the co-owner of Ian’s Pizza in Madison, Wisconsin, Nick Martin. Ian’s has offered its 50 fulltime employees comprehensive health care coverage for the last nine years, Martin pointed out in the Huffington Post and in an appearance on the Fox Business Network.
If a little four-restaurant operation like Ian’s can do it, a giant chain like Papa John’s can surely afford the health care benefits specified by the law.
Besides, taking care of your employees makes good business sense.
The costs Schnatter complained about are nearly negligible, Martin notes--between 4 and 14 cents per pizza. “That’s literally 1% of their costs,” Martin told me the other day, sitting in his State Street restaurant during the Monday lunch rush. “Our block cheese prices fluctuated 14% this year.
“There are so many things that go into pricing,” he added. “It seems totally political, because it’s such a small impact.”
Martin’s attitude is a breath of fresh air after post-election temper tantrums by Schnatter and Denny’s franchise owner John Metz. Having lost the election, Romney donors are now competing to see who can be the world’s worst boss.
Metz, who owns 40 restaurants in Florida, actually suggested that customers stiff his employees on their tips to make up for the 5% “Obamacare surcharge” he plans to add to all his menu items:
"They can either pay it and tip 15% or 20%,” Metz said, “or if they really feel so inclined, they can reduce the amount of tip they give to the server, who is the primary beneficiary of Obamacare."
Take that, you lowly restaurant workers!
Fortunately, Denny’s and Papa John’s began backpedaling furiously after customers walked away in disgust. Call it a new labor consciousness -- or just plain good values.
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