Fast-Food Chains Quit Campaign Supporting Prepared Foods Tax To Pay For Triad Ballpark
GREENSBORO, N.C. Posted 6:07 a.m. March 12, 1998 -- Two fast-food chains have bailed
out of a campaign supporting a prepared foods tax that would help pay for a new major
league baseball stadium.
The Subway and Wendy's restaurants in the Triad area decided not to participate after
receiving angry calls from people who heard the chains were backing the 1 percent tax in a
"We don't think the prepared foods tax is the way to go," said Greg Cox, a
spokesman for 62 Subway sandwich shops in the region.
Baseball advocates last month held a kickoff for the Vote Yes for Major-League Baseball
campaign, which is working to get the taxes approved. The two chains, as well as Pizza Hut
and Pepsi-Cola bottlers, were named as allies in the campaign.
That was before the phones started ringing. Irate customers threatened to take their
"You never know how hot it's going to get in the kitchen," said Cox, who
added the angry calls took Subway managers by surprise. "We have way too many stores
and way too much to lose to jeopardize our stores. We didn't think it would be in our best
interest to stay involved."
The Subway shops abandoned the campaign two weeks later. Some 30 Wendy's outlets bailed
out only three days after the Feb. 14 campaign launch.
"Wendy's is not pro tax," said John Dainotto, a spokesman for the Triad-area
How widespread the anger is over the prepared foods tax is unclear. Restaurant managers
interviewed said they received fewer than 10 angry calls, while some received fewer than
Each chain had planned restaurant promotions connected with the drive to bring the
major leagues to the area. Subway, for example, would have offered free tickets to the
1998 World Series.
North Carolina businessman Don Beaver wants to buy the Minnesota Twins and bring them
to a stadium that would be built along the Guilford-Forsyth county line at a cost of $210
million. About $140 million would come from the prepared food tax and a 1 percent ticket
tax. Guilford and Forsyth voters will cast ballots May 5 on the tax idea.
The food tax would be levied on all meals, food and beverages served in restaurants and
cafeterias and on certain prepared foods such as deli sandwiches sold in supermarkets. The
tax would be levied only if a team comes to the region.
Pepsi and Pizza Hut still remain in the campaign.