Chow Bella

Chow Bella's 9 Most Dramatic Moments in the National Food (and Drink) Scene in 2012

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Papa John's CEO Does the Math on Obamacare, Warns of Higher Pizza Prices

Surely, Papa John's CEO and Romney supporter John Schnatter didn't mean to sound like an idiot when he told shareholders that Obamacare would have a disastrous effect on the price of pizza. But detailed analysis proved that the prez's health care plan -- and its effects on employee health insurance -- would force him to raise pizza prices as much as . . . oh, maybe 14 cents per pie. More importantly, he warned, he'd probably have to cut back employee hours if the Affordable Care Act isn't repealed. Just like Chick-fil-A, Papa John's had its supporters (who staged an eat-in to oppose Obamacare) and its detractors (who elected boycott), but Schnatter is merely the raven-haired poster boy for loads of other corporate restaurant CEO's -- Denny's, Applebee's and Darden Restaurants, which include Olive Garden, Red Lobster and Yard House -- who plan to follow suit.

Hostess -- Maker of Twinkies -- Files Chapter 11

The 82-year-old privately held company, an iconic American brand, had been struggling under a whopping $860 million in debt, escalating labor costs and sluggish consumer demand since it crawled out of its first Chapter 11 in 2009. Then it filed again in January of this year. Management blamed the unions, while union leaders suggested that executives consider their own compensation cuts. For a time, it seemed there was no need for Ding Dong devotees to fret. Hostess received $75 million in financing from a group of lenders, allowing them to continue operating their bakeries and outlet stores. Now, after all the financial finagling, a shutdown might still be imminent. Production at about a dozen of the company's 33 plants has been affected by striking workers who refuse to take a pay cut. The only option for Hostess seems to be finding a buyer with deep pockets and a willingness to bank on the legendary shelf-life of the Twinkie. When the news of Chapter 11 broke early in the year, we asked this pertinent question.

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Nikki Buchanan