The American owner of a Papa John’s doesn’t plan to close his restaurant despite growing tension between Russia and the United States.

“The best thing I can do as an individual shows compassion for the people, my employees, franchisees and customers without judging them because of the politicians in power,” said the owner, Christopher Wynne to The New York Times.

Wynne is a Colorado native who has been operating several Papa John’s stores in Russia since the early 2000s. Even with the recent sanctions on the country, Wynne has no plan to stop serving pizza to the people of Russia.

Serving pizza to the people of Russia: Even with the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Wynne said that the internet and internal credit card systems are still working.

  • “The vast majority of Russian people are very clearheaded and understand the dark gravity of the situation they’re in,” said Wynne. “And, at the end of the day, they appreciate a good pizza.”

Papa John’s take: On March 9, Papa John’s announced that it would cease all cooperate operations in Russia, reported CNN.

  • “Papa John’s stands with much of the globe in condemning aggression and violence,” said the company, according to CNN. “We hope for a peaceful resolution to the crisis in Ukraine, which today is hurting millions of innocent people who are losing their homes, communities, and people they love.”
  • However, all 190 Papa John’s stores in Russia are owned by private franchisees. These stores will continue to operate.
  • Papa John’s reported that the company isn’t currently receiving any royalties from the operation of these stores, per CNN.
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Papa John’s receives backlash: According to NBC, Papa John’s is receiving backlash on social media due to the fact that all Russian stores will continue to operate.

  • “Call them ‘Papa Putin’s or ‘Putin’s John’” said one person in a tweet.
  • “Sorry Papa Johns. If your Moscow franchisee won’t close his Russia stores, we can boycott your pizza in the US,” another person said, NBC reported.

Wynne has no plans to stop serving pizza: Wynne plans to open 20-40 more stores in Russia this year, stated The New York Times.

  • “Papa John’s is worried about the corporate and political winds that, on a day-to-day basis, I cannot focus on.” He continued to say it “has never been my responsibility or right to comment about the politics in Russia,” Wynne said to The New York Times.
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