Obamacare gobbles up CiCi’s Pizza franchises

CiCis PizzaFor almost 20 years Bob Westbrook has been a Cici’s Pizza franchise owner, selling “fresh taste at a great price.” But thanks to Obamacare’s not-so-great-employer mandate, Westbrook is forced to sell his buffet-style restaurants instead of pizza.

Even though Westbrook says his Texas stores were the top three performing CiCi’s Pizza franchises, he wasn’t making enough dough… er, money to provide health insurance to all 96 of his full-time employees, much less afford the penalty — which would cost him $78,000 more than what he says he made at his restaurants in 2011.

“It’s a crying shame when government actually causes you to shrink your business rather than to grow your businesses and provide additional employment for the economy,” Westbrook said on Fox News’ “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren” show Monday night.

The Texas franchisee implied that with so many uncertainties in the Obamacare plan, he went straight to researching the penalties when the legislation passed in 2010, while he was president of the Texas Restaurant Association.

“The first thing that we did whenever it passed was take a look at the penalties that were involved because there were so many other unknowns within the 10,000 pages of that law,” he said.

With two of his franchises sold last fall, Westbrook’s third franchise will close on August 1, despite the employer mandate delay until after the 2014 midterms. Even if he had known that the delay was going to happen, he still would have sold his franchises.

“For me, a franchisee, I can’t put my faith in the fact that Congress is going to inevitably reverse that decision,” Westbrook said.

Watch Westbrook’s interview with Van Susteren below.