March 27, 2013

Fake Issue 2013: Get off Papa John’s ass

Guest Commentary: By Col. Harland Sanders

Now, listen here. When Papa John Schnatter announced plans last week to personally spit on his company’s one-billionth pizza, the naysayers and cynics went hog-wild. “It’s degrading,” some said. “An insult to his customers and a personal health risk,” shouted others. Still, others claimed it would make “an already sodium-laden pizza even saltier, especially if he hocks up a loogie.”

But Papa John knows what the cynics don’t: Millions of pizza lovers all over the world love him and want to ingest his sputum. That’s why pizza sales shot through the roof when the news broke. For much of last week, #PapaSpitStakes was a worldwide trending topic on Twitter. Pizza sales are already up 20 percent, and with good reason.

“It’s just my way of thanking our customers,” said Schnatter in a TV ad announcing the promotion. “Look, there’s nothing special about our pizza. Better ingredients? Hardly. Better pizza? Let’s get real. There’s only one reason we’ve sold almost a billion pizzas and that reason is me. People love me. I mean, look at me! What better gift could I give than my own DNA?

According to company forecasts, Papa John’s one-billionth pizza will be sold sometime in late May or early June, and the selfless Schnatter has pledged to fly to wherever in the world that pizza will be made and spit on it just before it’s delivered. “I’ll personally deliver the pizza, so I can spit on it while the customer watches,” he said. “That way it’s more authentic.”

Always mindful of the company’s bottom line, Schnatter also noted that delivering the pizza himself could save the company $7.25 by giving the regular driver an hour-long break.

To monitor the countdown as the fateful one-billionth pizza draws nigh, the company has launched an interactive website, PapaJohnSpits.com, where customers can follow the action, watch videos and even play a game where they try to dodge Papa John’s rapid-fire spit-storm.

Despite mounting criticism from the usual nattering nabobs of negativity, we need more American innovation like this, not less. How many corporate CEOs are willing to stop what they’re doing, fly around the world on a moment’s notice, and drop a snot rocket on some lucky customer? That kind of selfless devotion to business and love for the customer hearkens back to the great titans of days gone by — men like John D. Rockefeller and J.P. Morgan — who weren’t afraid to spread around their DNA, consequences be damned.

Besides, spitting on fast food has long been the cherished dominion of beleaguered fry cooks and stressed-out cashiers with sinus infections. It’s refreshing to see top brass get in on the action for a change.

And if you don’t think Schnatter’s “spit-stakes” is a loving offer, consider this: The billionth pizza could be ordered almost anywhere in the world, from Bahrain to Qatar to Venezuela to Okolona, so the personal sacrifice could be substantial. The poor man might have to go to some godforsaken third-world hotspot like Indianapolis or, God forbid, Detroit. So I say get off Papa John’s ass.

Look, it’s easy to criticize the top boss in any organization. Sometimes we do some batshit crazy stuff. Hell, I gave away my Canadian franchises just to keep the U.S. government from getting the tax money. And I still put on this string tie and goofy white get-up every day, even though I’ve been dead for 33 years. Why do we do the crazy things we do? Because we love our customers. And we want them to eat our spit.

Have you started a restaurant from nothing and grown it to become a worldwide chain generating billions of dollars in revenue and providing millions of jobs? Do you have millions of hungry customers dying to eat your spit? Well, until you do, don’t criticize Papa John. He knows what he’s doing. So get off his ass.

Col. Harland Sanders founded a service station in 1930 that grew to become the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant chain. Today, 35.7 percent of Americans are classified as obese by the Centers for Disease Control.

*This story is part of LEO Weekly's Fake Issue.

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