“From a PR standpoint, you would think it couldn’t get much worse than having to publicly ask neo-Nazis not to buy your products”, reports MediaPost, which added that this was “the bizarre situation that Papa John’s found itself in last November, after neo-Nazi site The Daily Stormer endorsed the pizza chain — posting a picture of a swastika pizza ad declaring Papa John’s the official pizza brand of the alt right. The support came in reaction to founder John Schnatter’s public contention that the National Football League — which the pizza chain had sponsored since 2010 — had damaged the chain’s sales by failing to “nip in the bud” some players’ “take the knee” protests during the national anthem.
“That episode quickly resulted in Schnatter’s resigning as CEO — though he stayed on as chairman — and in the dissolution of the chain’s NFL sponsorship. (Pizza Hut immediately stepped in to fill the sponsorship void.) It also resulted in Papa John’s issuing a statement that the company does not want hate groups to buy its pizzas.
“But Papa John’s’ sales have continued to decline — same-stores sales were down 5.3% in first-quarter 2018 — while Pizza Hut and Domino’s have been on a roll.
“And its image crisis actually got worse yesterday. Schatter resigned as chairman following the revelation, in a Forbes article, that he had used a racial slur in a May conference call with the marketing agency Laundry Service.
“Ironically, the call was meant to be a role-playing exercise for Schnatter, “in an effort to prevent future public-relations snafus,” following his disastrous November 2017 comments.”
As of January 2016 there were over 4,700 Papa John’s restaurants in all 50 U.S. states and in 37 other countries and territories.
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