We have aligned on five strategic priorities, together with our cultural initiatives, which will enable us to rebuild trust with our customers and communities, and deliver on our business objectives:

  • Making People a Priority: We are investing in our people and doubling down on our commitment to diversity and inclusion as a top strategic priority across all aspects of our business operations. Our most important ingredient is the more than 120,000 corporate and franchise employees dedicated to the company’s success.
  • Improving Our Brand Differentiation: We are driving new branding and marketing campaigns that will differentiate Papa John’s and refocus on our value proposition. Papa John’s has always been about bringing people together and being part of those moments when people are together.
  • Creating Accessible Value: We are focusing our efforts on building an arsenal of well-tested, proven products, offers and consistent pricing models that we believe will gain broad support from our customers and franchisees.
  • Implementing Technological Advancements: We continue to make significant strides towards deploying technologies aimed at radically improving the consumer experience. For example, we recently launched a preferred national partnership with DoorDash and voice ordering by Amazon Alexa. All of this work is dedicated to the pursuit of a better customer experience.
  • Improving Unit Economics: We are building a stronger unit economic model with business tools and user flow redesign to drive effectiveness. We have also employed third party experts to review the potential for improvements within our restaurants.

Mr. Ritchie is focused on creating the right future for Papa John's. To do so, the company is undergoing an independent cultural audit and investigation, which will review our existing processes, policies and systems related to diversity and inclusion, supplier and vendor engagement, and Papa John's culture.

The Center for Talent Innovation, a leading diversity, equity and inclusion think tank, is leading the important work in conjunction with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP and will provide actionable recommendations to help move the company forward.

We have a long road ahead of us, and we know we can only rebuild trust by taking meaningful action.

We know we need to do more to put our best foot forward and ensure we are doing right by all members of the Papa John's family.

We have promoted Victoria Russell to become the first Chief of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion for Papa John's International. In this newly created role, Victoria has been instrumental in forming and leading our Diversity & Inclusion committee, beginning late last year, and has shown tremendous passion for the brand. Along with our leadership team, Victoria will be leading efforts that ensure our company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion remains a top strategic priority across all aspects of our business operations.

She has already implemented several important actions to move the company forward, including developing a mandatory diversity and inclusion training and launching an employee group exclusively dedicated to bringing forth diverse voices to senior leadership. Victoria also recently facilitated an unconscious bias training session for Papa John's executive leadership.

We are making this training mandatory for all corporate team members and are in the process of rolling it out across the company.

We are also kicking off the development of two key long-term initiatives:

  • The Papa John’s minority-owned franchise expansion and development program; and
  • The formation of a new foundation that will be focused on making a positive impact in communities where our team members live and work. We will support causes that bring people together.

Finally, Papa John’s leaders recently visited Atlanta, Los Angeles, Dallas, Detroit and Chicago as part of a listening tour to get feedback from team members and franchisees on how we can do better.

Over the last few weeks, we have spent a lot of time talking with franchisees, our customers and employees. We have heard strong support for the actions we are taking, both as they relate to our corporate culture and our brand, and in relation to improving how we operate and connect with consumers. Franchisees, partners and independent financial industry analysts have all expressed strong support for the new direction of the company:

  • “We applaud the actions taken by the Company to define the future for the Papa John’s brand. The full FAC supports this collaborative agreement as well as other new marketing, technology and operational initiatives the Company is taking to move the brand forward.” (Bill Green, Chairman of the Papa John’s Franchisee Advisory Council)
  • “We believe it is time for the founder to move on. Steve is pursuing the right initiatives to reinvigorate growth and recognizes the importance of working together to move forward successfully. We appreciate the assistance being extended to our franchisees and believe the assistance program will help mitigate the impact that the founder’s inexcusable words and actions have had on franchisees.” (Vaughn Frey, President of Papa John’s Franchise Association)
  • “While we have been vocal in wanting to see more in the way of innovative value messaging and traffic driving initiatives, we feel strongly that an aggressive focus on the Company’s new initiatives (particularly brand, value, and technology) present a much greater chance for success vs. remaining tethered to Mr. Schnatter’s image, which we believe would make a sales recovery incrementally more difficult. We would also note that we believe this opinion is overwhelmingly shared by the investment community.” (Will Slabaugh, Analyst, Stephens Inc.)

Papa John's is a 120,000 person strong family and we are committed to helping our people succeed. We recently announced a new assistance program for our franchisees in the United States and Canada to help address the sales and operating challenges.

More information about this initiative and what we are doing for franchisees right now can be found here.