- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 28, 2014

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The chief executive and co-owner of Minnesota-based Punch Pizza restaurant will be recognized at the State of the Union address.

John Soranno will be a guest of Michelle Obama’s during Tuesday night’s speech.

Punch Pizza announced in November that it would increase wages to a minimum of $10 per hour for entry level workers. Soranno and his 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’ll be 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.

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