Why “The Papa” is a Grade-A Dirtbag

Filed in National by on November 12, 2012

Sometimes, political cartooning is an exercise in venting my frustrations.

Take the reaction to President Obama’s reelection by “the Papa,” Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter. A fervent Mitt Romney supporter, the Papa injected politics into the sauce of his pizza back in August when he complained that due to Obamacare, he would be forced to raise the prices of his pizzas.

Now that Obama has been re-elected, and Mitt Romney is depressingly taking rides up and down on his car elevator, the Papa has doubled down on his threat, warning that his chain may cut his minimum-wage employee’s hours to avoid paying for their healthcare.

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About the Author ()

Rob Tornoe is a local cartoonist and columnist, and can be seen in The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Press of Atlantic City, The News Journal, and the Dover Post chain of newspapers. He's also a contributor to Media Matters and WHYY. Web site: RobTornoe.com Twitter: @RobTornoe

Comments (25)

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  1. pandora says:

    I really wish I ate Papa John’s garbage (had it once years ago… Yuck) so I could boycott.

    And I don’t want to hear about the poor Papa John franchise owners. Yes, they will suffer, but 100% of the blame for that lies with Papa John.

    What is possessing these supposedly “brilliant businessmen” to tie their products to politics? Why would a Dem/Progressive ever buy Papa John’s cardboard when they would be funding Republican SuperPacs?

    Every one of these retaliating businessmen should have the words Susan G. Komen tattooed on their body.

  2. Jason330 says:

    Fuck this guy. If all his pizza places close, guess what? …demand for pizza will not go down.

    The market will fill the void for shitty chain pizza faster than this d-bag can say – Cayman Islands.

    The lie that “job creators” want everyone to buy into is that they have some magic formula that they will withhold if they feel mistreated. BULLSHIT MOTHER FUUUUUCKEEEERS!!

    The consumers hold the magic formula. It is called cash.

  3. John Young says:

    pandora, it’s too simple to say you don’t want to hear about the franchisees. Of course it’s Papa’a fault that they will suffer at his hands, but that doesn’t make those that disagree with Papa any less a victim.

    I get the boycott, I get Papa’a an asshole. I just can’t get my head around punishing innocent people for his actions. To me it’s like getting mad at your boss and then getting back at him/her by being a jerk to his/her employees when they didn’t do anything to you.

    Someone should find a list of corporate v. franchise stores so the boycott, if one chooses to do so, be targeted and more effective.

    I also agree with Jason on the lie of job creators and that we hold the magic formula, always!

  4. pandora says:

    I actually thought of you when I wrote that statement, John. While it may not be the franchise owners fault, it is Papa John’s problem to fix. Or the franchise owners can try and fix it by denouncing Papa John. Is that allowed?

    And I get that it shouldn’t be their problem to fix, but they can blame Papa. He attached politics to his pizza and when you buy any Papa John pizza you will contribute to John Schnatter’s wealth. I won’t do that. I’m also not going to ask people to search which Papa John’s to patronize – that will be the responsibility of the franchise owners.

  5. cassandra m says:

    And I get that it shouldn’t be their problem to fix, but they can blame Papa.

    The only problem that Papa’s franchisees’ have is getting people in the door to buy their pizza. They have that problem no matter Schnatter’s politics. Schnatter’s politics just made that job of getting customers harder for those franchisees. Consumers *owe* absolutely nothing to people who want to sell them stuff. Choosing to boycott Papa John’s because of Schnatter’s politics OR because you believe in buying local OR because you believe that Papa John’s pizza is terrible OR because you are on a Paleo diet results in exactly the same thing.

    There is nothing about the free market that owes these franchisees a damn thing. It is up to them to earn their customers and to keep them. It is the deal they made.

  6. puck says:

    LOL – he’s raising prices and reducing service. The boycott will take care of itself.

    And isn’t it a franchise outfit, therefore the franchisees make the hire/fire decisions?

  7. bamboozer says:

    Papa Johns and others fail to remember, there are dozens if not hundreds of other companies doing exactly what thier doing. In the case of the pizza millionaire thier doing it better as well. Take this time to order a pizza from a local pizzeria. Tastes better and not a dime in the bulging pockets of the Schnatterhead.

  8. John Young says:

    It just strikes me wrong that the innocent franchisees (and there are some who likely agree with Papa and those that don’t, the one’s who don’t are the ones I am referring to)have to now bear the burden of proving that they are not assholes like their corporate owner.

    For franchisees it is truly their own capital and risk. Not Papa’s.

    If I were them, I’d probably try to sell my franchise back to Papa because I now know he’s a lunatic. It’s just a raw deal for them, their employees, and their families.

  9. jason330 says:

    Fuck them. (That’s capitalism speaking, not me)

  10. V says:

    There is NO REASON living where we live for anyone to need to eat Papa John’s. It’s the same reason I can’t fathom why anyone would eat at a quiznos or subway instead of a casapullas or capriottis or buy “Philly Cheesesteak” anything at a chain restaurant.

    Buy local, people.

  11. John: You assume that the franchisees disagree with what ‘Papa’ is doing. They are in a position to make the best ‘business’ decision for themselves, something that the employees being screwed are not in position to do.

    If Papa John wants to do this out of spite, it is not only my right, but my obligation to boycott Papa John’s, and to encourage anybody I know to do the same.

    So, here you go: BOYCOTT PAPA JOHN’S.

  12. pandora says:

    I’m going to say this again… it is not the customer’s job to fix this. It is Papa John’s. It’s his brand. He decided to make this political and had to realize that he’d lose the business of Dems/Progressives/Liberals. That was his choice.

    Perhaps franchise owners could sue Papa deliberately hurting their businesses? Or at the very least, declare him as an incompetent businessman? Perhaps people considering owning a franchise will insist on a CEO political gag order being added to every contract? But none of that (silliness) is the responsibility of Papa’s customers.

    And I second the BOYCOTT PAPA JOHN’S

    Words and deeds have consequences.

  13. Dave says:

    I buy local whenever possible. I recognize that Papa John’s is a franchise, with the franchisee as the owner in general buying local is not only good for you and the community but it localizes power as well. Papa John only has influence if the consumers allow him to have influence.

  14. V says:

    I see no reason why the franchisees can’t go rogue anyway. It’s not their fault.

    After the Chik-Fil-A fallout a franchisee sponsored a gay pride parade

    This asshattery is at Papa’s feet. End of story.

  15. cassandra_m says:

    And V is right — we live in a place that has plenty of local shops that serve up amazing pizza. Buy local and the virtuous circle is undisturbed.

  16. geezer says:

    Go beyond Papajohn’s and you’ll find this is a hot topic in chain restaurant circles.

    IMHO, the best thing that could happen to American dining would be for “restaurants” like Applebee’s, Olive Garden and Red Lobster to disappear. Remove them from the market and there would be more demand for the mom-and-pop restaurants they replaced. In short, I can’t think of anything that would create more small businesses than getting their schlock palaces to close their doors.

  17. Q: Guess which Delawarean has urged that people buy pizza at Papa John’s this Friday?

    (Hint: She’s not a witch.)

    That’s right. From this article:


    comes the following:

    “Will Republicans mobilize in Schnatter’s defense? Failed Delaware Senate candidate and non-witch Christine O’Donnell wants to bring back that Chick-fil-A magic.

    Papa Johns CEO’s getting heat for saying Obamacare costs will force layoffs. Papa Johns support day this Friday #TCOT
    — @ChristineOD via txt

    People who think low-wage, no-health-care jobs are a great thing should definitely go to Papa John’s on Friday to make the political point that the company would be right to cut workers’ hours. What’s more, everyone who heeds O’Donnell’s call should be sure the workers know why they’re ordering this pizza on this day. Alternatively, they could just leave a “please spit on this pizza repeatedly” note when ordering each one.”

  18. AQC says:

    I don’t eat that crap anyway, but I would boycott them!

  19. Please stop paying attention to this woman. She’s batshit crazy.

    That said, unless Schnatter changes his tune, I won’t patronize his stores anymore. 2 of my 3 kids like Papa John’s, but they’ll be just as happy w/ a better pizza from Omega on 4th St. or Pizza Pro Greenbank or Two Cousins in Hockessin. Fuck Papa John. He, and so many like him, forgot where they came from.

  20. Juels Cayman says:

    I’m not really a fan of Papa John’s pizza, however, I like the analogy in this post. And great meme Roland!

  21. V says:


    apparently business wasn’t THAT dire in september, when they announced the promo to give away 2 million free pizzas

  22. Ignia says:

    As a Papa John’s Employee, I’d like to point out the real reason why they refuse to provide healthcare for us.

    Obamacares states that employers *must* provide healthcare at a rate of *no more than* 10% of our annual income.

    Find me healthcare that is less than 10% of the annual income… of someone who makes $5.15 per hour?

    Here’s how it works.

    When you clock into the store before your first delivery, and between deliveries, you are being paid minimum wage- $7.25/hour.

    A customer orders a sale, and you offer your specials (to increase pizzas sold, of course) to knock the price down from $16 per large specialty pizza to $11 per large specialty pizza. So, store looses $5 in “profit” right there.

    It’s a delivery, so the customer is charged a $2 delivery fee- $1 of which *does* eventually go to the driver to pay for “mileage”.. the other $1 goes to the store to pay for “insurance.”

    The driver gets that $1 in mileage… but as soon as the driver clocks out on the run, they immediately give a portion of that “mileage” back by having our hourly wages dropped by $2 per hour, to $5.15 per hour.

    Oh, and that “liability insurance” that goes to the company? That’s to pay for any accidents that the driver might be involved in- but not for the driver. Driver’s problems are all on the personal insurance company, right down to health care (I work with a driver who’s suffered back and neck injuries after his accident, while on delivery for the store, and he couldn’t pay for the healthcare to get looked at. Other civilian driver’s fault and civilian was, of course, uninsured. Driver had liability only insurance.) Unofficial store policy: “If you’re in an accident, you clocked out (off) 10 minutes before it happens.” Supposedly, this is so they don’t have to fire you.

    As of today, I have been informed that I am no longer an employee of Papa John’s… I’m an independent contractor for the company now. Ignia Co, LLC reporting for duty- better than the Cayman Tax islands. I do more than help you avoid paying your taxes- I now make your money for you too!

  23. socialistic ben says:

    It’s criminal they make you clock out to take a delivery. Ive worked for Pizza Hut and had a roommate who drove fora few local small places….. always paid us for the time we were at work…. even if we were in our car on a delivery.
    I hope you find a better job soon. Papa Johns sucks.