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Entries in Papa John's (4)

Tuesday
May282013

Papa John's CEO Apologizes for Delivery Man's Racist Voicemail

Photo by Hemant Chawla/The India Today Group/Getty Images(SANFORD, Fla.) -- Papa John's Chairman and CEO John Schnatter apologized to a customer in Sanford, Fla., on Tuesday for a racist rant a Papa John's delivery man inadvertently left on the customer's voicemail.

After he delivered a pizza to the Sanford customer and his wife Sunday evening, the delivery man "butt dialed" the customer and left a voicemail message laden with racial slurs as he complained about his tip.

The customer posted a video on YouTube in which he showed the pizza delivery receipt, explaining he and his wife tipped 21 percent, "as usual."

In the voicemail message, which lasts about four minutes, the Papa John's employee complains to another Papa John's employee about the $5 tip and uses the N-word and other racial expletives, which he also incorporated into a song about the customer.

"I guess that's the only requirement for being a [N-word] in Sanford," a city still reeling from racial tensions after the shooting of Trayvon Martin last year.

"Yeah, they give me five bucks there -- fine outstanding African-American gentleman of the community," the delivery man can be heard saying in the call.

His fellow co-worker laughed in response.

Schnatter posted an apology on Papa John's Facebook page on Monday afternoon.

"Friends, I am extremely concerned to learn about the reprehensible language used by two former employees in one of our restaurants," the Facebook post stated. "Their thinking and actions defy both my personal and the company's values, and everything for which this company stands."

Schnatter said the employees "responsible for this absolutely unacceptable behavior were immediately terminated."

"My heartfelt apology goes out to the customer involved, his family and our community at large. I am very sorry that anyone would be exposed to these hurtful and painful words by any person involved in any way with our company," Schnatter said.

A call to Papa John's by ABC News for further comment was not immediately returned.

Many Facebook users who commented in response to Schnatter's post applauded his public apology.

One Facebook user said Schnatter is "a CEO that actually takes responsibility for the actions of his employees. You can't control employees, but you can take appropriate action."

In January 2012, a customer was described on a paper receipt as "Lady Chink Eyes" by a Papa John's employee in New York City.

Last month, a CVS customer in New Jersey filed a million-dollar lawsuit against CVS for being called, "Lee, Ching Chong".

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov142012

Papa John's Customers Sue in Class Action over Text Spam

Hemant Chawla/The India Today Group/Getty Images(SEATTLE) -- A group of Papa John's customers have filed a class action lawsuit against the pizza corporation as well as a handful of Papa John's franchisees for unsolicited text messages.

U.S. District Court Judge in Seattle John Coughenour certified the nationwide class action case against Papa John's International (NASDAQ: PZZA) for damages the plaintiffs say could reach over $250 million.

Donald Heyrich, an attorney representing the Papa John's customers, said he believes there were 500,000 text messages or more sent to customers over the span of a few years.

The plaintiffs, who first filed the lawsuit in 2010, point to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 which could lead to a penalty of at least $500 per unsolicited telephone advertisement or texting message.

"Businesses across the country spend massive sums of money on spam filtering software on our email," Heyrich said. "We're trying to keep spam out of our cell phones in the way that it has infected our email."

In August, Jiffy Lube settled a similar class action lawsuit for $47 million for text message spam. The company did not admit to any wrongdoing.

The lawsuit against Papa John's also names five Papa John's franchisee owners in different states: Rain City Pizza, Rose City Pizza, Seattle PJ Pizza, PJ Sound Pizza, Papa Washington.

The franchisees and their attorneys did not return requests for comment.

Caroline Oyler, Papa John's senior vice president of legal affairs, said the company plans to appeal the national certification ruling, which is preliminary.

She said it was not Papa John's text messaging program, but it was a third party vendor, OnTime4U, that a small number of Papa John's franchisees used years ago.

"We will continue to aggressively defend the case," she said.

She said the company became aware a couple years ago that some franchisees were using this service.

"We communicated some concerns that we had," she said. "It's important to note these are independent businesses. We can advise but we can't dictate how they run their businesses."

Papa John's has 4,100 worldwide, 3,300 of which are in North America. About 20 percent of its stores in North America are company-owned.

When asked to respond to Papa John's defense that the text messages were not a part of any corporate program, Heyrich said, "The opinion speaks for itself in that regard. The court certified a class of all individuals in the United States who were sent one of these unsolicited text messages."

He said it was not clear how many people received text messages.

"We understand from the complaints that were logged internally at Papa John's that some people were receiving multiple copies of the same message on the same dayl," Heyrich said.

The next step in the case will likely involve discovery and proving the case at trial, which has yet to be scheduled.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Aug092012

Cost of Health Care Bumping Up Pizza Price

Hemant Chawla/The India Today Group/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The CEO and founder of Papa John's pizza wants investors to know that when the president's health care law takes effect, the price of pizza is going up with it.

According to "Papa" John Schnatter, the cost of providing health insurance for all of his pizza chain's uninsured, full-time employees comes out to about 14 cents on a large pizza.  That's less than adding an extra topping and a third the price of an extra pepperoncini.  If you want that piping hot pie delivered, the $2 delivery fee will cost you 14 times as much as that health insurance price hike.

"We're not supportive of Obamacare, like most businesses in our industry," Schnatter said on a conference call with shareholders last week, as reported by Politico.  "If Obamacare is in fact not repealed, we will find tactics to shallow out any Obamacare costs and core strategies to pass that cost onto consumers in order to protect our shareholders' best interests."

The pizza place's Facebook page was soon littered with outraged pizza lovers proclaiming they would be "happy" to pay an extra 11 to 14 cents so Papa John's employees could have health insurance.

"I lose more than that in a week under my sofa cushion," one Facebook commenter wrote.  "I'd gladly pay 20 cents for a child to go to a doctor when they've got a cold, rather than have them show up at the ER."

Another said she's taking her money to another pizza restaurant, "one that doesn't begrudge their employees the ability to seek a doctor when they're ill."

The company sought to clarify Schattner's comments on Wednesday, telling ABC News in a statement that Schnatter's remarks were in direct response to a question about the costs of complying with President Obama's health care law.

"We certainly understand the importance of healthcare to our customers, our employees, small business owners and their employees," the company said.

But despite the pizza price increase, many of Papa John's employees may still go without employer-provided health insurance after the law takes effect in 2014.  The company would not say how many of its employees are uninsured, but in 2010, the service industry had one of the lowest rates of insured employees, with 33 percent of the workforce uninsured, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Large businesses, those with more than 50 employees, are the only ones on the hook for providing health insurance under the health reform law.  While Papa John's as a whole employs 16,500 people, 80 percent of the company's restaurants are independently owned franchises.  As long as a franchise owner does not employ more than 50 people, he or she does not have to pay for employee health insurance.

The Affordable Care Act only requires employers to offer health insurance to full-time employees, almost 90 percent of whom at large businesses like Papa John's corporate offices are already covered, according to a Treasury Department official.

If the pizza company decides not to cover any full-time employees who are not currently insured, it will be hit with a $2,000 fine for each employee beyond the first 30 workers.

But part-time employees are not required to be covered under the law.  While Papa John's would not disclose how many of its employees were part-time, in the food and beverage industry as a whole, half of all workers were part time in 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Where Papa John's and other restaurant chains may run into costs from the health law is under a new definition of "full-time" employees.  Anyone who works more than 35 hours, the average weekly hours of a part-time restaurant employee, is considered full-time under the law and will thus have to be provided with health insurance.

Steven Wojcik, vice president of Public Policy for the National Business Group on Health, said he expects that rather than pay for these employees to get health insurance, restaurant owners will cut back hours to keep the majority of their workforce part-time.

"What's going to happen is restaurants are going to have to make a choice," Wojcik said.  "My full-time employees, I'm going to have to move some of them to part-time.  I'm definitely not going to go out and hire more restaurant employees to stay under the 50-person cap and I may scale back some of the hours of the ones that currently work more than 30 hours per week."

Wojcik said that while some waiters, cooks and pizza makers who are already full-time may score health insurance from their employer, "we will not expect a lot more coverage of restaurant employees unless Americans are willing to pay a lot more for a meal."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jan092012

Papa John’s Employee Calls Woman ‘Lady Chinky Eyes’ on Receipt

Hemant Chawla/The India Today Group/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Pizza restaurant chain Papa John’s has apologized after an employee typed a racial slur on a receipt to a customer Friday at one of its locations in New York City.

Minhee Cho posted an image of the receipt on Twitter, which called her “lady chinky eyes.”

“Hey @PapaJohns just FYI my name isn’t ‘lady chinky eyes,’” Cho tweeted.

The image went viral, and many tweeted complaints to Papa John’s, such as “Your employees are your brand.”

Papa John’s replied to many complaints via Twitter, noting that the employee was being fired.

“We are very upset by recent receipt issue in New York & sincerely apologize to our customer. Franchise employee involved is being terminated,” Papa John’s tweeted.

This isn’t the first time a restaurant has come under fire over employees using racial or ethnic slurs on receipts.

Last month, a cashier at a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Irvine, Calif., was fired after allegedly mocking Asian-American customers, ABC News' Los Angeles station KABC-TV reported.

The cashier reportedly used “Ching” and “Chong” in the customer identification line on the receipts.  Photos of those receipts have also gone viral online.

In a written statement, a representative for the fast-food chain told KABC that “the individual clearly violated our operating standards.”

“The matter was addressed and discussed immediately with the guests on the spot; and a confirmation was provided that the employee was immediately dismissed for the individual behavior,” the statement said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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