Acknowledging disappointment and communicating change can be a challenge but this is exactly what Papa John’s CEO Steve Ritchie is doing to bring the brand’s customers back and win new ones. Through multiple efforts, Mr. Ritchie plans to create a more diverse and profitable company through short and long term efforts at all levels within the company. After a noticeable drop in same store sales, the fiscal year outlook that was already in the negative more than doubled. Steve Ritchie wrote an open letter addressing a variety of issues within the company and explained how the company will address them. In the letter, he stated the leadership of the company completed “unconscious bias training” and that this program will be expanded across the country.
After an independent investigation and cultural audit of Papa John’s inclusion and diversity practices, recommendations will be made and followed to address the concerns within the company. It is clear that Steve Ritchie understands the value that the cultural audit and investigation offers Papa John’s. In addition to this, Ritchie went to various Papa John’s locations around the country to get feedback from franchisees and team members and is creating a group of various experts to help guide Papa John’s in realizing it’s values.
Steve Ritchie has also said that he is committed to “adding more diversity to the leadership team of Papa John’s.” He is also developing a minority-owned franchise expansion and development program in addition to a foundation that will positively impact communities where Papa John’s employees live and work. This will create clear and lasting community relationships with benefits to the company and communities they serve. To communicate their efforts and values to the public, Papa John’s is also working with a new ad agency and has a new marketing and advertising campaign. Ritchie’s efforts include some store closures in the U.S. but Papa John’s also will have more than 350 openings internationally. To ensure that the company is not a target for a takeover, Papa John’s introduced a shareholder rights plan that dilutes the value of it’s stocks if any party seek to acquire common shares totaling 15 percent or more.