Pizza Chains Say Obamacare Could Deliver Price Increases


National Journal
Clara Ritger
Nov. 20, 2013, 7:13 a.m.

While many busi­nesses have com­plaints about Obama­care, pizza chains say the law might de­liv­er their cus­tom­ers a price in­crease.

Last year, the CEO and founder of Papa John’s prom­ised a price hike if the pres­id­ent’s sig­na­ture health re­form ini­ti­at­ive was al­lowed to take ef­fect. Pizza prices would be 14 cents high­er to cov­er the cost of provid­ing em­ploy­ees health in­sur­ance, “Papa” John Schnat­ter said.

Now Dom­ino’s has joined the law’s crit­ics. Ex­ec­ut­ive Vice Pres­id­ent Lynn Liddle said the cal­or­ie-post­ing re­quire­ment will cost the Dom­ino’s mom-and-pop fran­chisees as much as $5,000.

“We’re a big-name brand, but these are all very small-busi­ness people,” Liddle said. “Half of our 1,000 fran­chisees in the United States only own one pizza store.”

The Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion re­leased its draft reg­u­la­tions for com­ply­ing with the Af­ford­able Care Act re­quire­ment to post cal­or­ies con­spicu­ously in food es­tab­lish­ments. The FDA’s draft reg­u­la­tions re­quire the cal­or­ie counts to ap­pear wherever there is a worded menu for cus­tom­ers. Dom­ino’s takes is­sue with the re­quire­ment to post them on in-store menu boards, ar­guing that their on­line Cal-O-Meter should be suf­fi­cient.

“It spits out the cal­or­ie counts for your spe­cif­ic choice of pizza,” Liddle said. “You can’t just slap those cal­or­ies on a menu board. Each pizza is so dif­fer­ent, there’d have to be a range.”

Be­cause most cus­tom­ers or­der pizza on­line or over the phone, Liddle said, the ex­pense of the in-store menu board doesn’t make sense. The com­pany found that on av­er­age, its New York City stores spent $5,000 to com­ply with the cal­or­ie-post­ing re­quire­ment passed by the loc­al gov­ern­ment. They have not, however, dis­cussed wheth­er meet­ing the re­quire­ment would mean a price in­crease.

Papa John’s and Dom­ino’s aren’t the only chains to level com­plaints at the ad­min­is­tra­tion. One-time Re­pub­lic­an pres­id­en­tial can­did­ate Her­main Cain, also the former CEO of God­fath­er’s Pizza, told Time last year that if Obama was reelec­ted, deep-dish would dis­ap­pear.

“With Obama in a second term,” Cain said, “there will be no pizza. For any­one.”

Luck­ily for pizza-lov­ers, the worst-case scen­ario isn’t a world without their hand-tossed staple, but rather, a more ex­pens­ive pie.

What We're Following See More »
GOP Budget Chiefs Won’t Invite Administration to Testify
1 days ago

The administration will release its 2017 budget blueprint tomorrow, but the House and Senate budget committees won’t be inviting anyone from the White House to come talk about it. “The chairmen of the House and Senate Budget committees released a joint statement saying it simply wasn’t worth their time” to hear from OMB Director Shaun Donovan. Accusing the members of pulling a “Donald Trump,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the move “raises some questions about how confident they are about the kinds of arguments that they could make.”

Snowstorm Could Impact Primary Turnout
1 days ago

A snowstorm is supposed to hit New Hampshire today and “linger into Primary Tuesday.” GOP consultant Ron Kaufman said lower turnout should help candidates who have spent a lot of time in the state tending to retail politicking. Donald Trump “has acknowledged that he needs to step up his ground-game, and a heavy snowfall could depress his figures relative to more organized candidates.”

A Shake-Up in the Offing in the Clinton Camp?
22 hours ago

Anticipating a primary loss in New Hampshire on Tuesday, Hillary and Bill Clinton “are considering staffing and strategy changes” to their campaign. Sources tell Politico that the Clintons are likely to layer over top officials with experienced talent, rather than fire their staff en masse.

Trump Is Still Ahead, but Who’s in Second?
10 hours ago

We may not be talking about New Hampshire primary polls for another three-and-a-half years, so here goes:

  • American Research Group’s tracking poll has Donald Trump in the lead with 30% support, followed by Marco Rubio and John Kasich tying for second place at 16%. On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders leads Hillary Clinton 53%-41%.
  • The 7 News/UMass Lowell tracking poll has Trump way out front with 34%, followed by Rubio and Ted Cruz with 13% apiece. Among the Democrats, Sanders is in front 56%-40%.
  • A Gravis poll puts Trump ahead with 28%, followed by Kasich with 17% and Rubio with 15%.