190 Papa John’s stores in Russia are still open: ‘At the end of the day, they appreciate good pizza’

About 190 Papa John’s stores remain open in Russia despite the international pizza chain announcing it was suspending corporate operations in the country due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to the New York Times. Transfer Posted on Monday.

Papa John’s restaurants are owned primarily by Russians through a franchise agreement with a company controlled by Colorado-born Christopher Wynn, who told The Times that Russians “have clear heads and understand the dark gravity of the situation they live in” and at the end of the day, they appreciate good pizza” .

“The best thing I can do as an individual is to show empathy to people, my employees, franchisees and clients without judging them for politicians in power,” Wayne told the newspaper.

The Hill has reached out to Papa John’s for comment.

last weekPapa John’s has announced the suspension of its corporate operations in Russia, joining other global high-profile companies such as Starbucks and McDonald’s.

The international pizza chain, which has 8 percent of its global stores located in Russia, said it would donate food and make financial donations to help Ukrainian refugees.

Papa John’s told The Times in a statement that his decision to suspend operations in Russia “was supported by the vast majority of our team members, franchises, customers, and communities around the world.”

But although franchise stores — common among large companies operating in a large number of locations — may receive subsidies from parent companies, they are primarily run by franchisees, who have a greater financial interest in keeping individual stores open, according to the report. The Times indicated.

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This dynamic has also complicated efforts to suspend operations in Russia for other fast food brands, such as Restaurant Brands International, owner of Burger King, which has 800 franchise locations in the country, and Yum Brands, which operates KFC but only owns about 70 of its restaurants. The 1,000 KFC restaurants that are there, according to The Times.

Wayne, whose wife is Russian, told the Times that when Papa John’s said it was suspending support for Russian businesses including his business, “our views differed fairly quickly.”

“I have a perspective where my interest is first and foremost with my employees and franchisees and keeping the lines of cultural exchange with the Russian people open,” he told the newspaper. On a daily basis, I can’t focus on it.”

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