Pizza kings are combat-ready

By Laurie Bennett

June 20, 2011 at 6:16pm

Having worked as a newspaper reporter in Detroit, where, during my tenure, the founder of Domino’s owned the Tigers and the founder of Little Caesars owned the Red Wings, I’m accustomed to the idea that pizza kings rule.

The political world has yet to embrace this concept, treating Herman Cain’s presidential bid as a big joke.

It may be, but not because of his background as head of Godfather’s Pizza.

Politifact investigated Cain’s claims that he turned the company around when it was on the verge of bankruptcy. The verdict: “Cain is largely correct.”

Cain also has compared pizza delivery to battle.

“When I first became president of Godfather’s Pizza, there was a very dangerous part of town in the black community where I wouldn’t allow my restaurants to deliver because we had kids beat, robbed,” he told the Daily Caller.

“And I said, ‘If I won’t send my son over there, I’m not going to send someone else’s son or daughter over there.’”

He said he would apply a similar principle to war: “When I get ready to make a decision relative to foreign policy I will make a decision based upon as if I’m sending my own kids, sons and daughters, into war. I’m not going to do that lightly.”

The statements were widely mocked by the media. We suspect that most of the mockers never had jobs delivering pizza in the neighborhoods Cain describes.

Indeed, Cain isn’t the first to draw the parallel between the pizza business and combat.

Tommy Franks, a retired four-star general who commanded Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq, is a director of CEC Entertainment, the company that owns Chuck E. Cheese’s.

CEC Entertainment noted in its most recent proxy, “As the Company continues to expand internationally, the Board of Directors will continue to seek the guidance of General (ret) Franks in formulating the Company‚Äôs global strategic direction.”

Just as cheese and pepperoni attract the greats, they can be a springboard to greatness.

Mike Ilitch, who now owns the Detroit Tigers as well as the Red Wings, controls a sizeable slice of Motown’s economy.

Mike Rawlings, former CEO of Pizza Hut, will be sworn in next week as the new mayor of Dallas.

And let’s not forget that Julia Roberts’ first star turn was in 1988, in “Mystic Pizza.”

Editor’s note: We should point out that stories about pizza inevitably attract Google ads for pizza. If that resulted in more than a few pennies per gazillion page views, we probably would have to consider whether our story choices were being influenced by greed.

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