Opponents of President Obama's Affordable Care Act – better known as Obamacare – are now saying the next downside of the plan could be an increase in the cost of pizza. According to Papa John's CEO John Schnatter, customers could see up to a $.20 increase in the price of their Friday night pizza order.
Papa John's, which is the nation's third largest pizza company, will be required under Obamacare to offer its 16,000 plus employees health coverage or pay what the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled a "tax" if it chooses not to provide the coverage.
The National Restaurant Association, which represents thousands of small and large members, says the restaurants that already operate at small profit margins may face even greater challenges when the law takes effect. The only option some may have is to lay off workers so they can stay under the 50-employee threshold.
Judy Nichols operates a Papa John's franchise in Texas and she says plans to expand may have to be put on hold.
"I have two options, I can stop offering coverage and pay the $2,000 fine, or I could keep my number of staff under 50 so the mandate doesn't apply," she told Legal Newsline. "Obamacare is making me think about cutting jobs instead."
Kent Collier owns several McDonald's stores in Tennessee and is in the same boat. "Where does it stop?" Collier asked in an interview with The Christian Post. "My customers complain if certain items come off of the dollar menu so raising the price of a single hamburger will hurt me and my employees. And by the way, I built my business with no government help. So I don't need them to hurt me either."
McDonald's said they expect Obamacare to cost each of its 14,000 franchises between $10,000 and $30,000 annually.
Schnatter whose story of selling his Camaro to finance his first pizza store and his aggressive advertising campaign has practically made him a household face. Yet he knows the fast-food industry can more readily pass the cost along to their customers.
"We're not supportive of Obamacare, like most businesses in our industry," Schnatter was quoted as saying in Politico. "But our business model and unit economics are about as ideal as you can get for a food company to absorb Obamacare."
Schnatter said he is supporting GOP nominee Mitt Romney for president.