Papa John's reputation suffers after CEO's Obamacare threats

Posted in the Minneapolis Forum

Bob Schmahl

Minneapolis, MN

#1 Dec 4, 2012
According to the YouGov BrandIndex, Papa John's saw its reputation drop significantly in November after CEO John Schnatter tried to scare workers and customers alike about how workers' hours would be cut to keep them from qualifying for health coverage under Obamacare. A class action suit against the pizza chain for sending spam text messages probably didn't help, either:

Papa John’s, Applebee’s, and Denny’s were measured with YouGov BrandIndex’s Buzz score, which asks respondents, "If you've heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?" Results were filtered adults 18+ who have eaten at casual dining restaurants in the past month.

Papa John’s Buzz score high point for the month came on Election Day—November 6th—with a score of 32. Eight days later, the score had dropped 10 points down to 22, when the spam text lawsuit was unveiled. A few days later, Papa John’s dropped below Pizza Hut’s score and is presently at 4.
Applebee's and Denny's also suffered in the reputation score after major franchisees of those chains said they would be penalizing workers and customers as a result of Obamacare, but Denny's rebounded somewhat after its CEO rebuked John Metz, the franchisee who said he'd add a surcharge and cut workers' hours. No word on any changes to reputation for Darden Restaurants. No company executive or franchisee there made inflammatory statements; rather, the company just quietly started planning to cut workers' hours below the 30 per week that would qualify them for employer-provided health coverage.

According to Papa John's, a different BrandIndex measure shows the chain doing just fine.

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