Papa John’s has taken a beating over the last year or so due to news reports of a lack of cultural understanding and diversity highlighted by a few unconscionable comments made by the former CEO that became public. Sales for its U. S. stores have dropped over 5% the last year and recently the company stated that the current fiscal year is projected to have as much as a 10% decline.
With over 2,500 independently owned franchises in the U. S. that employ more than 80,000 people, the situation is not only having a devastating financial impact on all of them but; they know that despite all of the hard work and integrity they have all poured into their jobs the public now has a nasty distaste for anyone connected with Papa John’s.
Enter Steve Ritchie
One employee of Papa John’s is Steve Ritchie. He started as a “customer service representative,” meaning he worked the counter greeting customers and taking their orders, back in May of 1996. He then spent almost two years as an assistant manager and general manager of a single franchise. After that, he spent the next 20 years moving up through the corporate ladder learning every aspect of the entire corporate structure and its operational procedures.
In January of 2018, Steve Ritchie became the President and CEO of Papa John’s. He immediately began moving with an intense dedication to restore the reputation of Papa John’s to the buying public and re-energize the faith and belief in all of Papa John’s franchise owners and employees moral human dignity
Steve Ritchie put together a group of high ranking Papa John’s personnel and went on his own fact finding mission. Visiting several large cities such as Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles, he met with franchise owners and employees to make sure he really understood what they were going through and what they were feeling, He found his own sense of disappointment and hurt to be magnified as he felt their justifiable anger arising from their personal pain and fear.
With an even greater understanding of the situation, Steve Ritchie then put together a plan of action to restore everyone’s faith in the company and the people connected with it.
Steve Ritchie’s Four Part Plan to Reshape and Rebuild the Integrity of the Papa John’s Name
- Assemble an outside group of respected and established individuals representing the advancement of cultural diversity and equality of all people
- Promoting to higher positions of authority and, if necessary, hiring outside the company, people of different ethnic groups and women as well.
- Creating a special division of Papa John’s dedicated to increasing the number of minority owned franchises
Getting the Good Word Out
- Starting a new foundation focused on having the each franchise become positively involved in the local community; where the customers and the employees of Pap John’s live, work, and play.
Steve Ritchie knows the value of “brand” type advertising hiring Endeavor Global Marketing as its main advertising agency to put on the new face of Papa John’s and bringing on board black owned Nimbus, a well known and effective “multicultural agency” whose mission statement is a philosophy of “Diverse insight with strategic vision and integrated creativity.”
However, perhaps his most influential move to directly address these issues within the company, is his promoting of Victoria Russell to the newly created role of Chief of Diversity and Inclusion. Victoria Russell, who has been with Papa John’s for 12 years, was ready to quit the corporation until fellow corporate employees convinced her to stay and make a difference.
Steve Ritchie has stated that he, and all that is Papa John’s pizza, is now of a continual commitment to equality, inclusion, and the respect of each and every individual. He has also asked the public to hold him accountable and to call him out regarding any disrespect of anyone so that complacency will never take a seat beside him or beside Papa John’s.