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Papa Johns Just Got Quite the Face Lift – CEO on the Company

After Rob Lynch replaced founder and former CEO John Schnatter in 2019, Papa Johns revealed its revamped branding and marketing strategy. When a new CEO brings on Shaq O’Neal, the iconic basketball MVP, as a major player in launching a public relations campaign, it’s obvious that a company is taking things seriously. The restaurant chain’s makeover also includes dropping the apostrophe from the name, an updated logo and newly designed restaurants.

Lynch first took on the role as CEO after Papa Johns became involved in a public relations setback. Angry customers called for a boycott after the company’s founder and former CEO made controversial statements. The issue came up during football season, a lucrative time for pizza deliveries. To regain customers’ trust, investors searched for an experienced CEO who could successfully execute a public imaging reconstruction and reverse the company’s slumping stock price.

With New CEO, Comes New Direction

Lynch’s background in restaurant chain marketing made him an ideal choice to mastermind Papa Johns’ much-needed turnaround. As CEO, one of the first moves Lynch made was to prioritize diversity when hiring employees and recruiting franchisees. By removing the apostrophe from the original “Papa John’s” name, the company is expressing that its success no longer relies on a single individual. Papa Johns also revised its logo by removing “Pizza” from its former graphic. The move promotes the CEO’s product expansion efforts. The expanded menu includes the new Papadia Italian flatbread sandwiches and Papa Johns chicken wings.  

Shortly before Lynch took the helm, Shaquille O’Neal acquired ownership of nine Papa Johns franchises, and investors appointed him to the board of directors. Since then, Shaq Papa Johns team members and Rob Lynch have brought a synergistic dynamic to the new marketing campaign. Lynch began fostering the idea of innovation and “doing things differently” during his first week as CEO. The company soon launched the innovative and purposeful Shaq-a-Roni pizza.

A signature achievement of the Lynch and Shaq leadership team, the new extra-large pepperoni pizza gives customers reasons to buy from Papa Johns again. A portion of the pie’s sales proceeds is donated to charitable organizations such as the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. The popularity of the Shaq-a-Roni pizza demonstrates Papa Johns is regaining the public’s trust through meaningful marketing that promotes premium ingredients along with the company’s core values.

What Does Rob Have Planned?

Named as a finalist by Restaurant Business Magazine for 2020’s Restaurant Leader of the Year, Lynch is prepared to compete with Papa Johns’ largest competitors. His plans include increasing sales revenue by guaranteeing customers they can expect high-quality no-filler-added ingredients sourced from a sustainable and transparent supply chain.

Customers appreciate quick options when placing food orders. They may now request an in-store pickup or a home delivery through the Papa Johns website. The company also has a mobile app featuring an easy-to-use ordering system. For customers preferring to dine inside, the restaurants offer flexibility with friendly employee service or a self-service checkout system. The new Papa Johns franchises also feature energy-efficient lighting and ovens. As noted on the company’s website and promotional materials, the operational standards will remain focused on People, Pizza and Planet.

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