by Ray Hayes

2018 was not the best year for Papa John’s. One of the company’s biggest blunders to date came just a few months ago when founder and former CEO John Schnatter admitted to using a racial slur on conference call. Schnatter was also widely criticized for blaming the company’s lack of sales to NFL anthem protests which subsequently lead to the NFL and Papa John’s sponsorship deal ending. With all the negative publicity, the pizza chain has decided to make amends with its consumer base by publicly airing its dirty laundry to the world. In a new ad, Papa John’s displays the brutally honest messages it received after all the negative publicity it has received from Schnatter’s actions.

Some of the consumer messages read as follows, “Racism is disgusting and I won’t support it,” and that “blaming players for poor sales with dog whistle racism was a hack move.” As customer messages scrolled across the screen during the ad, the words from the pizza chain appeared as well stating the following, “You expected better from Papa John’s. So did we.  Thank you for your honesty … It is making us better.”

Papa John’s will also be initiating a mandatory bias training for its employees which will include conversations about, “unconscious bias, racial and cultural sensitivity and managing bias.” According to, Papa John’s CEO Steve Ritchie said he was also “personally committed to adding more diversity to the leadership team of Papa John’s.”

For the company’s sake, I hope this works because its reputation has been trashed and some of its relationships will never be fixed.