Papa John’s is currently looking down the barrel of dramatic change. Though their change comes from troubling months, these changes were long overdue according to CEO Steve Ritchie. After taking over Papa John’s, Ritchie made it his personal mission to introduce more diversity and inclusion in all aspects of the brand.
Since the controversy, Papa John’s leadership took a good look at the franchise. After concluding they needed to change something, Papa John’s announced a new wave of diversity and inclusion programs. These programs would not only make the brand better but also add to the local communities around Papa John’s stores.
The announcement came with a video and letter written by Steve Ritchie. The video showed real Papa John’s customers voicing their disappointment and shame in the brand. It was the company’s way of owning the mistake and showing people that they heard them. The letter followed the video and explained how Papa John’s plans to affect fundamental change.
Much of this change comes after the company realized how bad things were and how bad they could get. Sales dropped over six percent in some regions and higher in others, more than 10 percent. Overall, the company was expected to be in the negative percents by the end of the fiscal year.
Change needed to happen, not only for the company’s survival but to ensure they communities around them weren’t excluded. Steve Ritchie says he got into the pizza business because pizza brings people together. The way Papa John’s behaved in recent months was not what people wanted or needed.
Ritchie and the rest of Papa John’s leaders started changing the company by changing their outlook on the world. After undergoing “unconscious bias training,” they’re excited to implement that program in all their stores across the nation.
Since taking over, Ritchie opened an investigation into the brand’s diversity and inclusion practices, launched an independent cultural audit, and assembled a special team of diversity, equity, and inclusion advisors to guide the company to a better future.