THE AMERICAN PIZZA COMMUNITY TOLD POLICYMAKERS HOW WASHINGTON CAN HELP PIZZA STORE OWNERS SUCCEED
Job Creation and Business Growth Topped List of Concerns
The American Pizza Community shared their concerns with legislators about business policies affecting pizza stores owners and operators as well as providing an overview the US pizza industry has on local economies. Their annual fly-in to Washington coincided with Pi Day and serves as a reminder that competitive business owners can come together to collectively advocate for policies to help their industry – owners, operators, suppliers and vendors – thrive and grow.
Franchise owners representing Domino’s, Godfather’s Pizza, Hungry Howie’s, Little Caesars, and Papa John’s met with Members of Congress and their staff – in total, more than 70 congressional offices about issues ranging from business depreciation tax extending to restaurant renovations to the proposed steel tariffs which affect the affordability of restaurant equipment.
Such policies can impact decisions about delaying investments in store remodeling projects which has ripple effects across the economy that impact the communities in which pizza stores, retailers and companies are doing business.
“Many legislators aren’t aware that the proposed steel tariffs will significantly raise the price of restaurant equipment such as ovens – one of the highest costs to running a pizza store,” said Brad Price, a Godfather’s Pizza franchisee with 15 stores throughout Iowa and Minnesota. “This can make or break a small business owner’s decision to invest in another store.”
According to the APC, there are more than one million people employed by the US pizza industry from delivery drivers and in-store managers to equipment manufacturers and food and beverage suppliers. The 77,000 pizza stores around the country are located in communities and neighborhoods representing every Congressional District.
Current policies pizza store franchisees addressed with lawmakers include:
- Correcting a provision included in the original Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) but omitted in the final bill that concerned tax eligibility to Qualified Improvement Property (QIP), a drafting error that means building improvements are to be written off over 39 years instead of the intended one year. As a result, a taxpayer gets to write off only 2.5% of their improvement costs in the year the expenditures are made, and 97.5% over the remaining 38 years, instead of writing off 100% of the cost in the year the expenditures are made.
- Immediate removal of the proposed steel tariffs in Section 232 as part of the larger US trade agreement as higher equipment costs factor into business decisions to delay new restaurant construction and remodeling. One set of pizza ovens costs approximately $30,000. One pizza store has two to three ovens on average.
- In general, tariffs are financially hurting farmers. Retaliatory tariffs by Mexico and China are hurting dairy farmers struggling with low milk prices fueled by failed export markets. Today, cheese is the most expensive ingredient on a pizza.
- As laws enforcing stricter data privacy regulations are increasing at the state level, any federal legislative solution must factor in equal application of the law across all industries while preserving the integrity of customer loyalty programs. Most pizza companies offer loyalty programs that customers enjoy and rely on. Nearly 80% of American participate in some type of a loyalty or rewards program.
“It was a terrific experience to represent small business owners, our brand and our industry in Washington D.C.,” said Chris Reisch, a Domino’s franchisee based in Lexington, Kentucky. “The opportunity for face time with lawmakers and their staff at this early stage of the Congressional Session was invaluable.”