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Papa John's pizza sign
Public Policy Polling's food poll has a lot of entertainment value—pancakes beat french toast, with waffles bringing up the rear, while a narrow plurality of Republicans consider the Olive Garden to be "'a quality source of authentic ethnic food"—but there's one really important question:
54% of voters say that they'd be willing to pay more for their restaurant meals to help employees have health insurance to 30% who say they would not. Democrats (72/19) are overwhelmingly willing to pay more for that purpose, but Republicans by a narrow margin (41/38) as well.
That's been one of the big threats about what will happen as restaurants have to insure more of their workers under Obamacare. Papa John's CEO John Schnatter has been particularly aggressive with those threats, insisting that insuring workers would mean both raising prices and cutting worker hours. But despite his inflated estimates of how big those price increases would be, and despite similar fearmongering from owners of Wendy's, Taco Bell, Denny's, and Applebee's franchises, apparently a majority of people still look at restaurant prices and think "yeah, I'd pay the extra few cents on a pizza or a burger to get health care for the workers who cooked and served my meal." Looks like people are just a little better than those restaurant owners were banking on when they tried to pit customers against low-wage workers.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 12:36 PM PST.

Also republished by Invisible People, In Support of Labor and Unions, Daily Kos, and Daily Kos Economics.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I'm surprised it's that low. (54%) (6+ / 0-)

    I mean, it's enough to give a business owner pause (over half their market) -- but I would have thought more people would see the benefit a medically-insured populace.

    Wonder what percent of the 46% are Democrats.

    When 1% take 121% of the gains from "recovery", people actually recovering from lost employment are trading down on wages and benefits. Current strategies by moderates don't even consider winning the Class War.

    by Words In Action on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 12:40:18 PM PST

    •  You And Me Both. If I Pay .15 Cents. Heck A Buck (6+ / 0-)

      more so the person that serves me a pizza, my food is healthy isn't a big deal to me. Now I might have more income then some and a dollar is a lot of money. I do get that. But I want the person serving me food I eat to be healthy.

      When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

      by webranding on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 12:44:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But of course if you spread the costs (6+ / 0-)

        out over the millions of pizzas/burgers/Applebee's salad bar meals sold, you're not going to have to add that much to the cost of each one to cover health care for all employees, especially if you get a good group rate with a reputable provider.

        Of course, the ultimate solution would be to provide single payer insurance for the entire nation, thus spreading the cost out even further, but that's OMG socializm and we can't have that.

        There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

        by Cali Scribe on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 07:46:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm always amazed (0+ / 0-)

          when talking to conservatives about fairness and taxes. They always ask, "Are YOU willing to pay higher taxes?" Like it's game set and match, checkmate, and the full-court nothing but net shot that wins the game at the buzzer, all rolled into one. And they have no idea what to say when I say, Yes, as long as they are fairly levied and responsibly spent. Except, "Well I won't."

          Work it out conservatives, the only thing standing in the way of a better society for all, is YOU.

          The problem with our current system is not the taxes themselves, as conservative believe, but the corrupt and unfair way they are levied and the corrupt and unfair way they are spent. The solution is not to increase the unfairness and corruption (the republican plan) but to make the system more fair and less corrupt (generally the democratic plan).

      •  Want to bet most people disagree? (0+ / 0-)

        Many people will say they are willing to pay more for health insurance for others.

        But I bet that if you gave them the option to pay a dollar extra per pizza to pay for health care for workers under 10% would take it.

    •  May depend on the question (4+ / 0-)

      If the pollster was asking about restaurants in general, then the question probably didn't give a price range.

      The real extra cost for a pizza would really be about five cents more, but even fifteen cents sounds pretty low. How much more would it be for some other kind of meal?

      If the pollster asked--would you pay more?--some people will envision much more, another $2 or $5 or something, especially in light of the negative advertising about Obamacare.

      I think any sane person would readily agree to pay another five cents or fifteen cents for a pizza. How many people buy whole pizzas often enough to make a dime or a nickel a big issue?

      •  Exactly. Didn't give a range. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        True North

        I bet if you asked "would you pay 5 cents more for a pizza" a lot more people would answer yes. This is just "price increase" and I'm sure most people weren't thinking in terms of less than, say, $1 a meal, and maybe substantially more.

        •  The interesting question is (0+ / 0-)

          Would you pay 5 cents more per pizza to pay for health care? Or would you pay 25 cents more per pizza to pay 5 cents for health care and 20 cents to pay for "Pappa" John's new mansion and yacht? Because that was Pappa John's stated plan: To raise his prices by far more than necessary and blame it all on Obama so he could increase his personal profits and only incidentally cover the provisions of the law.

          Funny thing is, if the price of wheat goes up, Pappa John doesn't rail against the farmers and try to get everyone to hate on them for raising prices. He just adjusts his prices as the market dictates. Which may mean he takes a profits hit because his customers won't pay a penny more. That's capitalism: Sometimes your costs go up, sometimes you can't raise prices so you take the hit if you want to stay in business.

          But when it comes to being a decent human being, Papa John fails utterly. His employees aren't "associates" or "partners" as conservative double think marketers want you to believe. He sees workers as an unworthy drag on his personal fortune and he looks for every way possible to make them miserable so he can prosper. That's the conservative way: Always kick down to increase suffering for the greatest number, and take, take, take for yourself. And lie about it. Lie and take, lie and take.

      •  It's irrelevant in a way. (0+ / 0-)

        46% wouldn't even commit to hypothetically helping workers have health insurance?

        Money doesn't talk it swears.

        by Coss on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 07:06:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think committing to the hypothetical is actually (0+ / 0-)

          more difficult than the actual. The hypothetical is about ideals. The real is 5 cents for actual people, and more people would commit in more concrete terms and settings, I'd think.

    •  In San Francisco there is a healthcare (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      doraphasia

      requirement. Employers have to offer health insurance or contribute a fixed hourly amount to "Healthy San Francisco" a city provided healthcare plan. Many restaurants add a surcharge to the bill so it will have the cost of the meal, Healthy San Francisco or healthcare charge, and taxes, show a total and a place for a tip. This has been well received. It shows that the restaurant hasn't raised prices and is conforming to the local ordinance.

      I think that any restaurant who wanted to add an ACA surcharge would be free to show that on the bill and add it to the cost of the food. If I recall from the articles I have read for an item like a pizza, it would be a very nominal additional cost which I think nearly everyone would pay without any negative backlash.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 02:59:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  very sad that the number is that low (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    allergywoman, ichibon

    The American character needs an adjustment.

    That number should be 99.9%!

    Healthcare for All Now!

    WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs. For Jan: Right-to-Work/Right-to-Live(?)

    by JayRaye on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 12:42:40 PM PST

  •  And the other 46% are self-serving jerks, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    allergywoman, ichibon

    ...who likely don't even bother to tip the server or delivery person.

    Yes, I am cynical about human nature sometimes....

    "Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions." - Thomas Jefferson

    by rfall on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 01:00:36 PM PST

  •  I diaried about this in September and it was 59-22 (0+ / 0-)

    It was actually a question in part of a poll during the VA Senate race.   Here's a link to that diary, it was a pretty interesting finding.

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    I can't force you to do anything, I can just make you regret it!

    by restondem on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 01:24:50 PM PST

  •  Answering a poll is pretty meaningless (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib

    Many people give what they think is the "right" answer when they answer polls.  

    Action is far more important.  And the financial success of enterprises that build a business model on low prices suggests that the actions of consumers don't match what they may tell a pollster.  

    After all, if people were willing to pay slightly more for products at a company is more generous to its employees,  over a company that has lower prices but fewer employee benefits, Wal-Mart would not survive. But Wal-Mart often puts those "slightly more expensive" competitors out of business.  

    No serious business is going to make financial decisions based on a blind poll.  They use actual sales data -- i.e., what people DO when they spend their money.

    •  Although if the diary on the Rec list (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tfill

      is correct, Walmart's business practices (and publicity about them) is coming back to bite the Walton family right in the ass. And if you look at how sales have dropped at places like Papa John's, Applebee's and other restaurants when it was learned they'd rather stiff their employees on health care, a lot of people used their wallets to express their negative opinion.

      There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

      by Cali Scribe on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 07:52:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Only just over half (0+ / 0-)

    Nothing to cheer about. Shows just how far away from being a civilized country we are.

    •  It's the "What do you think I am?" factor (0+ / 0-)

      If you ask people if they're willing to add a specific amount to the cost of their meal, they might be more likely to answer in the affirmative than if it's just a hypothetical price increase -- for all they know, the restauranteur might increase the price by $5 then skim off $4.75 for his own use.

      (There's a story that's attributed to George Bernard Shaw; he approached a beautiful woman at a party and said, "Madam, would you spend the night with me for one million dollars?" The woman giggled and said yes. "Would you spend the night with me for 100 dollars?" Outraged, the woman asked, "What do you think I am?" Without batting an eye, Shaw replied, "I believe we have established that, we are merely negotiating the price.")

      There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

      by Cali Scribe on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 07:56:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'd pay Walmart a penny per item, maybe even a (0+ / 0-)

    nickel or dime more, to give their (our) employees a living wage with benefits. Remember those "falling prices ads" with the prices ending as ".88"?    
     .99 works for me.

    "As long as Unicorns roam the earth, evil can never harm the pure of heart."

    by PHScott on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 03:45:51 PM PST

  •  Come on fast food industry. Start treating your (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cocinero, pipercity1

    workers with some dignity.

    Either pay for benefits for your workers yourselves or we will tax you to pay for them ourselves. Either way you lose out.

    Fighting Liberal at
    “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” --Gandhi:

    by smokey545 on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 06:33:30 PM PST

  •  So we need to choose? (0+ / 0-)

    I'd actually vote (with a buck or so) for the wing nut at this point.

  •  I do pay more (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tfill

    but not to the restaurant.  We don't have much money, but we have lunch out every Saturday as the only special thing we do for ourselves.  We always tip in cash and we always over tip.  I see that as giving the server a raise without the restaurant knowing.  Also, if the restaurant is a small business, we pay the whole bill in cash.  That eliminates the 3 to 5 percent they lose on credit/debit cards.

    •  Plus, you pay for their uncompensated care. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sharman

      Come tax time, you're paying for their health care anyway. Just at twice the rate, with half the results.

      Pay now or pay later. That's the choice. 54% say they'd pay more for meals, but 100% end up paying for it on the back end, anyway.

  •  Makes one wonder why the push back if (0+ / 0-)

    customers are willing to pay more.

    Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

    by thestructureguy on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 06:38:04 PM PST

  •  I'll pay a little more (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tfill

    I like it When the people preparing and serving my food are healthy. It's even better when they're also happy.

    Join the 48ForEastAfrica Blogathon for the famine in east Africa: Donate to Oxfam America

    by JayC on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 06:38:23 PM PST

  •  A strawman argument at best, n/t. (0+ / 0-)
    •  Can you elaborate on that for us? (0+ / 0-)

      Money doesn't talk it swears.

      by Coss on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 07:03:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think he means (0+ / 0-)

        that this is a stupid poll because it's a hypothetical.  I think it's pretty well been proven (eg WalMart) that the bulk of consumers will look for the lower price without much consideration for things like how employees are treated.

        If Papa Johns pizza is 9.99 and Pizza Hut is 11.99, but PH provides health care and other benefits, I think Papa Johns is going to kill PH in the market.

        If you ask people if they'd pay $1/month so that kittens don't die, most would say yes.  But if you try to tax them that amount to fund animal shelters, you'd find a lot will say no.

  •  I'll pay more for a healthy meal which (0+ / 0-)

    cannot possibly be confused for the food that Papa John's peddles!  That's right, they peddle food that will cause you to go to the hospital sooner than later, while keeping their employees from being able to afford the same hospital care in the first place.  What a racket...

    There is no hell on earth appropriate enough for those who would promote the killing of another person, in the name of a god.

    by HarryParatestis on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 06:41:11 PM PST

  •  No more Papa John's (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tunk, Woodrow Stool, pipercity1, Hirodog

    Ever.  Finished.

  •  Someone ought to just point out that on any (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tunk, ssgbryan, Hirodog

    given day he's got a coupon out that will lose him $1 or $2 or $5 on each pizza he's selling so it's preposterous for him to complain about 15¢ for Obamacare no matter what the public survey says people are willing to pay for.

  •  54% might pay more for restaurants to provide (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tfill

    health coverage for their employees, but I don't intend to ever darken the door of a Papa John's, or any other restaurant that threatens their customers with increased prices to support their political initiatives to the detriment of their employees.

  •  One great thing about being gluten free due to (0+ / 0-)

    celiac is that unless I cheat (which I hate to admit happens a couple times of year and I just deal with the pain), I get to avoid all these over produced crapholes. And Papa Johns was the worst. Never understood the appeal, it was decent pizza, but never had a good experience...In and Out burger is my fast food weakness...and they are a good employer.

    •  We've got the best local pizza chains (0+ / 0-)

      out here -- Pizza My Heart; great pizza, and I think they do a GF crust. Started over the hill in Santa Cruz several years ago.

      There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

      by Cali Scribe on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 07:59:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  pancakes beat French Toast???? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sharman

    wow....simply wow.  

    All I can say is, they've never eaten my French Toast.  

    As for waffles...yeah, they're overrated.

    Oregon: Sure...it's cold. But it's a damp cold.

    by Keith930 on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 06:58:30 PM PST

  •  I'm not sure that's something to gloat about. (0+ / 0-)

    Only 54% of Americans aren't total pieces of shit?

    Money doesn't talk it swears.

    by Coss on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 07:01:38 PM PST

  •  Haven't had a slice of Papa John's... (0+ / 0-)

    ...since last summer. Don't miss it, either. Will likely go to my grave without another one...

  •  THAT'S why liberals would pay more. (0+ / 0-)

    NOT just for the hell of it, like the moron smoothie guy in Utah thinks.

  •  I'd pay more (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tunk

    but not at Papa John's.  Not ever.  

  •  still don't understand why chains (0+ / 0-)

    going out of business is a bad thing.  If Obamacare meant the end of just one these blights on our cultural landscape, I would say we have all gained.

    •  When you're traveling with young kids, (0+ / 0-)

      sometimes you need something they're familiar with to avoid the "Ewww, I'm not eating THAT!" at the table. You can stop by Mickey D's and get their Happy Meal, then get them a babysitter and you and your Significant Other can go out for a real grown-up meal. (My sister did that often, usually bringing me along on vacation to watch her girls while she and my brother-in-law went out...got me away from my mom for a week so it was all good.)

      There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

      by Cali Scribe on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 08:02:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  i understand that but (0+ / 0-)

        the trick is not to get them familiar with it in the first place.  my three year has never been to a fast food restaurant and won't until he can drive himself there.  i also understand the convenience but does fast food really have to be so bad and unhealthy - wouldn't it be better if local business replaced them.

  •  Papa Johns, Taco Bell, Dennys, Applebees (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roadbed Guy

    Is it a coincidence these are some of the shittiest restaurants in the world?

    •  My boss came back from a somewhat (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Woodrow Stool

      upscale convention not too long ago about being stuck on an elevator with a regional manager (apparently for several states) for Papa Johns.

      And by stuck on an elevator, I mean it broke down for 10 or 15 minutes, and he was more or less forced to strike up a conversation with the guy.

      The salient point was that the manager was shocked that my boss had ever eaten at Papa Johns (once, ever for whatever that tells you, ha ha) because the management types at the convention in question were more or less assumed to be well off enough to not have to eat that shit.

      IOW, even the Papa Johns management is well aware that their food totally sucks and target their demographics accordingly.

  •  They don't seem to get the ewwww! factor (0+ / 0-)

    Of having possibly unhealthy employees preparing and serving the food we eat, spreading diseases to everyone they come in contact with.

    Same with not having paid sick days. Seriously, why would we want sick people serving us?

    Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

    by splashy on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 10:11:29 PM PST

  •  Perhaps lower profit margin ... (0+ / 0-)

    Perhaps a lower profit margin for these fat cats in order to ensure benefits for workers who are making these people rich in the first place?  What a concept.  How come it has to come out of the pockets of consumers, who are already being fleeced by high prices?  The idea that "Papa John" (LOL) should reach into his cheese-stained trousers (eewww) and pony-up for health insurance for his workers and take less in the form of profits seems never to occur to anyone.  Or if it has occurred to anyone I'm not aware of it because it certainly isn't talked about much, and I have a phobia about reading the comments of others.

  •  Looks like (0+ / 0-)

    their divide and conquer campaign failed!

    Guess people are just heartily sick and tired of the divisive hate-mongering tactics the political right seems to prefer.

    This should serve as an actual wakeup call to the republicans.

    Mayan Word For 'Apocalypse' Actually Translates More Accurately As "Time Of Pale Obese Gun Monsters."......the Onion

    by lyvwyr101 on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 12:57:40 PM PST

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