Papa John’s public relations firm has been tracking down bloggers who write posts about the pizza mogul’s comments on Obamacare for months and asking them to correct or remove their posts.
The national crisis PR firm Sitrick and Co. targets bloggers who have written about Papa John’s founder and CEO John Schnatter saying that because of Obamacare, pizzas would have to go up in price about 11-14 cents and individual franchises would have to close stores and cut jobs. Schnatter did not make either of those claims, Sitrick and Co. chair Mike Sitrick says.
Sitrick told POLITICO that his firm has been in contact with a few dozen bloggers — but no major publications — about their posts on the subject and that most have either corrected the items or removed them entirely once the “mischaracterized” quotes are brought to their attention.
He and his associates point bloggers to Schnatter’s November 2012 op-ed in The Huffington Post, where the pizza mogul wrote that he “never said” hours, jobs or stores would be cut as a result of Obamacare. The post includes a transcript of Schnatter’s exchange with the reporter.
As for the pizza price issue, Sitrick informs bloggers that it is a mischaracterization of a quote from an investor call last year. During the call, Schnatter said the company estimated the price would likely have to go up if costs went up, “but our business model and unit economics are about as ideal as you can get for a food company to absorb Obamacare, ergo, we have a high ticket average with extremely high frequency of order counts, millions of pizzas per year.” Schnatter made headlines for his comments and he was widely mocked by late-night comedians such as Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart for his take on the impact of Obama’s health care law on Papa John’s.