This Chain Restaurant Says That Pope Francis’s Visit Ruined Business for Them

Pope Francis negatively affected sales at Cosi chains in Philadelphia, New York City, and Washington, D.C.

The pope affected sales at 30 percent of Cosi locations.

Pope Francis visited the U.S. from September 22 to 27 and stopped in Washington, D.C., New York City, and Philadelphia. Many places embraced his visit — a bakery made pope cookies, a pizza shop made a special pope pizza, and a New Jersey brewery even made a pope-inspired beer. But not all were happy.

Cosi, the sandwich and salad chain, has locations in all of these cities. On October 7, the company reported third quarter sales for the year and blamed a 4.5 percent drop in sales during Pope Francis’s visit. It’s unclear exactly how his visit affected sales, but it can be assumed that road closures dissuaded customers from dining at Cosi restaurants.

On the report, Cosi noted that business negatively affected sales in 30 percent of their stores. They also cited Labor Day as an influence in sales decline because two of their California restaurants were closed.


“While I am disappointed in the overall sales results this quarter, I am confident about the momentum I continue to see,” RJ Dourney, Cosi’s president and CEO, said in the report.