This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Pizza Dough Rising Force In 2012 Politics

WASHINGTON ( TheStreet) -- With pizza-industry alumni using their dining and delivery experience to think outside the box, pizza has a rising political profile.

Two candidates in the field pursuing the Republican party's 2012 presidential nomination have long, stringy ties to the pizza industry and are just the latest pizza alumni to make their presence felt in American politics. The pizza industry brought in $36 billion in 2009, the last complete year for which complete statistics were available, and provides a nice resume item for candidates pushing for economic growth. But don't take the link too far. The industry declined 1% from 2008 to 2009 and has seen its share of struggles in the year and a half since, making relying on pizza for popularity at the polls look as dumb as calling it "'za."

"Politicians are not attracted to pizza anymore than 93% of all Americans who have fallen in love with the world's most perfect food," says Steve Green, publisher of pizza industry magazine PMQ. "However, there are at this time a good number of pizza alumni who have become politically active because the pizza industry is a fabulous incubator of talent."

Republican hopeful Herman Cain's entire campaign is held together by dough, mozzarella and tomato sauce. While serving as an executive with Pillsbury in the early '80s, Cain caught the company's attention by taking over 400 Philadelphia-area outlets of Pillsbury's then-subsidiary Burger King (BKC) and transforming them from the chain's least profitable to its most profitable. Pillsbury asked him to do the same with Godfather's Pizza in 1986 and named him chief executive of the foundering chain.

That success and Cain's moonlighting gig as chief executive of the National Restaurant Association earned him a spot on Bob Dole's 1996 presidential campaign as an economic adviser and funded his own campaigns for a Georgia Senate seat in 2004 and for the presidential nomination in 2000 and this year. To this day, however, it still hasn't earned him public office.

That's the key difference between Cain and his pizza-primed GOP rival, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. The latter was still with Bain Capital when it bought a 93% stake in Domino's Pizza (DPZ) for $1 billion in 1998. He's used the profits from that and other Bain deals to back both of his presidential campaigns.

"The pizza industry is a microcosm of business. All of the business principles can be learned and mastered in the process of providing customers what they want for a fair and sustainable price," Green says. "Our industry is very competitive because it has such low barriers of entry and, like their political views, every good pizza operator believes their pizza is the best."
1 of 2

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
WEN $10.15 -1.65%
AAPL $95.01 1.05%
FB $99.75 -4.15%
GOOG $682.74 -0.12%
TSLA $147.99 -8.99%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 16,027.05 -177.92 -1.10%
S&P 500 1,853.44 -26.61 -1.42%
NASDAQ 4,283.7530 -79.3910 -1.82%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs