Papa John’s CEO Steve Ritchie Properly Handled a Challenging Situation

Papa John’s had declining pizza sales when they were no longer the NFL’s official pizza. Major league baseball was significantly reducing their interaction with the company. In Louisville, images from the company were being removed from pizza boxes and other marketing materials. It was a difficult situation. Papa John’s CEO Steve Ritchie knew what was required to overcome this challenging time. He went to work to prevent any further damage and fix what damage had been done to the company.


Some bad things had been said by those representing the company. Ritchie knew the things that were said did not represent his company’s values. It was a time for the company to distance itself from what had been said. CEO Steve Ritchie Papa John’s told everyone how it is important to remember Papa John’s is not just one person. It is a company with over 119,000 corporate as well as franchise team members worldwide. They are individuals who live in the communities where their Papa John’s restaurants are located and come from all walks of life. These are people who work hard to provide their customers with the best possible pizza and service. These are individuals who are local franchise owners and operators who do many things for their community.


Papa John’s CEO Steve Ritchie knew it was time to change things. He had the company bring in outside experts to analyze the company’s inclusion, culture and diversity practices. Senior management was sent to visit employees as well as franchisees to get their feedback on moving forward. Ritchie wanted their actions to be transparent and for the company to be held accountable. The goal was for Papa John’s is to do better.

Apology Letter

There was an apology letter drafted and then adjusted by CEO Steve Ritchie. It was a letter designed to be direct and specifically address customer’s concerns. The letter included a direct apology as well as empathy for what had happened. Many consider the letter to have been well done.

With Steve Ritchie’s leadership, the company was able to regain its popularity. He is currently the CEO of Papa John’s. Before this, he was the company’s President starting in 2015. Ritchie was a Senior Vice President for Papa John’s from 2013 to 2015 and served as the company’s Chief Operating Officer from 2014 to 2017.

Related link: