Published November 12, 2012
Daniel Wetter is just 16 years old, but his plan to support pizza chain Papa John’s amid a backlash of liberal criticism is no pie-in-the-sky idea.
Wetter is part of an upstart group called Rebooting America that is proposing that Friday be a national day of appreciation for the pizza chain, whose chief executive officer is being attacked for saying employees’ hours might be cut to cover the cost of implementing their health insurance under ObamaCare.
The conservative group has hatched a social media-based campaign that centers on encouraging people to buy a pizza pie at a Papa John’s store, taking a photo of the outing and then posting it on a Facebook page or tweeting it.
“We just wanted to stand with Papa John’s because it is under attack,” said Wetter, who volunteered with Mitt Romney's campaign and credits fellow conservative activist Justen Charters with coming up with the idea.
Wetter said Monday the Facebook appreciation page went up Sunday night and almost immediately got 1,000 supporters.
Papa John's founder and CEO John H. Schnatter said after Election Day that franchise owners might have to cut hours because the health care law requires companies with more than 50 employees to provide insurance for those working at least 30 hours. He also estimated the law will cost the company $5 million to $8 million more annually.
Other companies, such as Olive Garden and Applebee’s, also have faced criticism and threats of boycotts for voicing similar concerns.
Supporters of the Affordable Care Act more recently pounced on comments by New York-area Applebee's franchisee Zane Tankel, who told Fox Business that cost increases related to implementing ObamaCare might force a halt to expansion and additional hiring. Critics appear to have interpreted Tankel’s comments to mean he will lay off employees as a result of the changes.
Wetter said he hopes the activism will move beyond the appreciation day for Papa John's.
“This is not just about Friday or one group,” said Wetter, adding he already was a fan of Papa John’s. “I just had some pizza yesterday, and I’m going to have some more Friday.”
The other elements of the plan call for supporters to “like" Papa John's Facebook page and buy an extra pizza Friday “to share with someone that is struggling right now,” such as a neighbor who lost a job.