The past few months haven’t been good ones for Papa John’s, with much of the controversy coming as a result of founder John Schnatter. First, he blamed declining sales on the NFL’s supposed inability to stop players from protesting, which resulted in the pizza chain being dropped as a sponsor. Then he was caught issuing a racial slur on a conference call, which has resulted in a few other setbacks. Chief among these is the fact that his name is being dropped from a stadium in Louisville; furthermore, his image is being removed from all Papa John’s marketing materials. Now, CEO Steve Ritchie has issued an apology to fans, noting that John Schnatter’s words were offensive and that there was no place for them within the company.
On top of this, he noted that the words used by Schnatter don’t represent the views of the company. As such, Steve Ritchie has issued a letter to fans of the pizza chain and noted that Papa John’s would be doing more than just apologizing. Because of that, Ritchie has laid out what the company will be doing going forward to ensure that it can regain the trust of customers while also improving the overall company. Chief among these is the fact that the company will be bringing in a team of outside experts to examine the Papa John’s culture. A central focus of this investigation will also be the company’s diversity and inclusion efforts. With this in mind, Steve Ritchie has noted that the audit will highlight where Papa John’s can do better, as well as if there are any aspects of the company that may be problematic.
Because of this, the CEO has noted that the company is committed to taking this advice on board and improving the culture within the company. Furthermore, he’s announced that upper management will be taking feedback from employees and franchisees to see where they feel that the company can do better. Steve Ritchie has also noted that to help rebuild trust with customers, Papa John’s will be transparent throughout this process while also being dedicated to improving as a company.
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