Papa John's Blames Middle East On Delayed Store Openings

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by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, Jan 09, 2024 - 08:05 PM

Western companies and franchises showing support for Israel during the conflict with Hamas in Gaza have faced boycotts across the Middle East. McDonald's warned last week that "misinformation" triggered boycotts and had caused "meaningful impacts" on its Middle East segment. Now, Papa John's International Inc. is the latest to reveal war impacts

On Monday, Papa John's wrote in a corporate update that global net store openings were 210 in the full year 2023, down 14% from its expected 245 target. 

"210 net unit openings for the full year 2023 with 57 net unit openings in North America and 153 net unit openings in international markets." 

The pizza chain blamed "lower-than-anticipated net unit openings" on "unanticipated international restaurant closures in the fourth quarter including 10 UK franchised restaurants; 12 international units that were re-classified as closed locations in the fourth quarter through a review of temporary restaurant closures; restaurant openings moved into 2024; and restaurant opening delays due to the ongoing conflict in the Middle East." 

The company provided no additional information on how "ongoing conflict in the Middle East" delayed store openings. 

However, boycott campaigns against Western brands, especially from the younger generation, have spread across the Middle East like wildfire as they become more conscious of the Palestinian cause. Any Western brands that stand with Israel have been boycotted. 

Last week, McDonald's CEO Chris Kempczinski described how Middle East boycotts have had a "meaningful business impact." He said the boycotts were "due to the war and associated misinformation." 

I also recognize that several markets in the Middle East and some outside the region are experiencing a meaningful business impact due to the war and associated misinformation that is affecting brands like McDonald's. This is disheartening and ill-founded. In every country where we operate, including in Muslim countries, McDonald's is proudly represented by local owner operators who work tirelessly to serve and support their communities while employing thousands of their fellow citizens. That local community connection is the genius of the McDonald's System.

It's not just McDonald's and Papa John's. Reuters has noted other Western brands, such as Starbucks and KFC, have been boycotted.

Meanwhile, for an entirely different reason, the Chinese are boycotting iPhones

Is the world beginning to boycott America?