Papa John’s CEO surely knew he was starting the pizza wars
Pizza Hut and DiGiorno also added hot peppers to the debate over protests during the national anthem
Some people see the NFL players’ protests and are infuriated, which is disheartening. But at least they don’t see the players’ protest as an opportunity to sell pizza and make more money for themselves and shareholders.
Maybe I am giving pizza executives too much credit, but I assume that John Schnatter, Papa John’s CEO, foresaw the reaction to his criticism of NFL leadership with regard to the protests during the anthem. He knew that supporters of the players would threaten to boycott, but he also knew that Papa John’s would get a sales bump from people who are upset by the protests. If he was surprised by the reaction, then he isn’t a good CEO, because predicting these types of second- and third-order reactions is the job of a CEO.
But he wasn’t alone. Greg Creed, CEO of Pizza Hut, became the delivery pizza of choice for those who support the players after he said the protests during the anthem have not impacted the company’s business. Frozen pizza company DiGiorno also entered the fray with this tweet:
It seems like with every week of the season, the meaning of the protests during the anthem becomes more distorted and diluted. But the “Pizza Wars” is a sad and trivial development that I hope isn’t rewarded.
And if you didn’t know: