Thousands pledge support for 'Papa John's Appreciation Day'


by Adam Walser

Posted on November 16, 2012 at 7:02 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 16 at 7:21 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- First it was Chic-Fil-A., now Papa John's is at the center of both a boycott and an appreciation day, based on its founder's comments.

Friday November 16 was declared “Papa John's Appreciation Day” by supporters of Papa John’s Founder and CEO John Schnatter.

People who support Schnatter's recent comments about Obamacare took to Facebook and other social media, encouraging their friends to patronize Papa John's locations nationwide.

Sometimes a pizza is more than just a meal.

“I made a special point to come here today. I told my wife that before I ordered it,” said Butch Fernandez, as he walked out of the Bardstown Road Papa John’s carrying a large pizza.

Fernandez is one of thousands of people observing "Papa John's Appreciation Day" nationwide.

The movement has its roots on Facebook, after Schnatter made headlines last week after giving a speech at a Florida university.

Schnatter, who held a fundraiser for Mitt Romney earlier this year,  predicted that as a result of Obamacare regulations, some Papa John's franchises would have to cut worker hours and raise pizza prices.

“That's probably going to happen. It's common sense. That's what I call a lose, lose,” Schnatter said during a question and answer session following his prepared speech to business students.

Those remarks led to Schnatter being lampooned by Madd Magazine.

Some people also called for a boycott of Papa John’s, while more than 20,000 others pledged to order Papa John’s pizza to show support.

“It's a business. Businesses are in business to make money,” said Fernandez. “If their cost rises, they have to put that cost to the customers or they don't make money.”

“They're getting some more publicity and stuff, you know,” said Ray Jarvis, who indicated he planned to order a Papa John’s pizza after work.

Some we talked to didn't feel particularly strongly either way.

“It's not a big deal to me. So I'm like, ‘whatever,’” said Randy Palmer.

“If you're supporting your beliefs, I'm all for it. I don't see nothing wrong with it,” said Kayla Hunt.

We made several calls to Papa John's corporate office, located here in Louisville, for comment, but didn't hear back from anyone.