By Murray Wardrop
John Schnatter, founder of Papa John's Pizza, risked the wrath of shareholders by warning diners that it was unhealthy to eat more than two slices.
The 47-year-old delivered the advice, even though customers cannot buy less than a whole pizza at any of the company's 118 takeaways in the UK or 2,500 US outlets.
The blunder bears resemblance to the infamous comments by Gerald Ratner, the former chief executive of British jewellery company Ratners Group, in which he mocked his own products.
During an interview on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Schnatter said: "Pizzas are healthy for you if you don't eat too much of it. You can't eat five or six slices.
"But if you eat one or two slices it's very nutritious. A slice or two is good for you."
The smallest Papa John's pizza, which costs £6.99, has six slices, the medium, at £8.99, has eight slices and the large, at £9.99, has 10 slices.
The comments came after the show's business presenter, Adam Shaw, asked whether Mr Schnatter was concerned about the government's anti-obesity campaign impacting on sales.
Mr Shaw then joked: "So don't eat a whole pizza is the advice of the chief executive of Papa John's?
"I'm not sure your investors would want to hear you tell people don't eat too much of our pizzas."
Mr Schnatter, who founded Papa John's in 1985, appeared on the programme to discuss how his company is successfully weathering the recession.
The restaurateur, from Jeffersonville, Indiana, said the firm posted a record sales increase of 13 per cent in January, and had a 60 per cent uplift this week alone.
He added that he was in London this week for an annual franchisee conference to urge more people to buy into his £1billion business, which is the third largest pizza delivery chain in the UK.
During his speech at the Institute of Directors in 1991, Mr Ratner branded one of his products as "total c---" and joked that some of the firm's earrings were "cheaper than an M&S prawn sandwich but probably wouldn't last as long".
The gaffe wiped £500million off the value of his business overnight as customers boycotted the chain.Original here