President Obama Praises Punch Pizza Co-Owner for Raising Wage

Updated: 01/28/2014 9:32 PM KSTP.com By: Leslie Dyste


Photo: Photo: Company website/Punch Pizza

The co-owner of Minnesota-based Punch Pizza restaurant was recognized at the State of the Union address.
    
John Soranno was a guest of Michelle Obama's during Tuesday night's speech. President Obama recognized Punch Pizza for raising its starting wage.

Punch Pizza announced in November that it would increase wages to a minimum of $10 per hour for entry level workers. Soranno and co-owner, John Puckett, say they raised their minimum wage to invest in employees, keeping them competitive.

Soranno says he's honored to be recognized by President Barack Obama.
    
He was joined by kitchen worker Nick Chute, who started working at Punch Pizza as a cashier to pay for college, and now has a degree in philosophy. Chute says the raise makes him feel like a bigger part of the company.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.