It's a weird time in politics when two of the world's biggest pizza chains are coming down on opposite sides of the aisle but this is the world we live in. Now we're not here to get all high and mighty about the state of American politics but pizza is something we feel we are more than qualified to comment on, so here goes.
So, in the NFL of late, you may have noticed that many members of many of the teams take a knee during the national anthem when it is played and this all started with Colin Kaepernick who was protesting against police brutality, a move that has come to be something of direct resistance to Donald Trump after the President weighed in on the issue. It has become a racially charged and highly controversial move with many feeling it is disrespectful toward the anthem whilst others salute the freedoms that allow people to perform such a protest.
Then pizza chain Papa John's felt they had to comment on the movement. They are prominent sponsors of the NFL and have done a lot to associate their brand with game days so it is understandable that they would keep an eye on how things are going and on Wednesday they stated that negative perception of the NFL since players started refusing to stand for the national anthem to protest racial inequality have hurt the company’s sales.
"The NFL has hurt us," Papa John’s founder and CEO John Schnatter said. "We are disappointed the NFL and its leadership did not resolve this."
The issue with this is that there is no real way of telling if it is these protests that are affecting sales or, y'know, just crappy pizza. Ite sounds like a bit of cop out to shareholders who were hoping to see a rise in sales to blame it on protests that are, granted controversial, but have two sides and are people really going to stop watching NFL or buying pizza because of the protests? They are there to make a point not stop the means of pizza production.
Papa John's rivals Pizza Hut then threw flames on the fire as they commented they were not seeing any impact on their sales from the protests. They have no affiliation with the NFL and saw 1 percent growth this quarter, higher than expected so there could be some correlation there but this tit-for-tat between pizza companies seems to be a rather ludicrous result of a movement designed to protest racial inequality.
"We're not seeing any impact from any of that on our business," the company said during an earnings conference call, according to CNBC.
What seems to spring to mind is that neither company have addressed the quality of service of their own products here and we really need to ask why America is buying so much chain pizza anyway. In a land where so many really great independent pizzerias exist, the fact that massive chains where they make the pizzas on a conveyor belt seems very odd indeed. This is a nation where pizza comes from, where people will craft the dish in front of you, hand made to perfection. In short America, no matter what side of the divide you fall on, you need to start buying better pizza!