Papa Johns will look a lot different in 2022, and they’re hoping that will attract new customers. The national pizza chain is undergoing a brand refresh—which will include a new logo and a new store design—after parting ways with company founder and former CEO John Schnatter.
Papa Johns Founder John Schnatter Resigned In 2018 Amid Controversy
According to Fox Business, Schnatter resigned as Papa Johns CEO in 2018 amid claims he was “set up” by the company’s board of directors and executives from the marketing firm Laundry Service.
Schnatter was accused of using a racial slur during a conference call, which caused a media controversy. But after a third-party investigation conducted by former FBI director Louis Freeh, it was determined that Schnatter’s comments were “neither intended nor can reasonably be interpreted to reflect any racial bias, prejudice, or disrespect for African Americans or people of color.”
Freeh concluded that Schnatter didn’t use a racial slur. He said that the facts in this case were “drowned out by the more sensationalized mischaracterization in the mainstream and social media.”
Distancing Themselves From Their Founder
Despite the findings of the investigation, Schnatter resigned from the company he founded. Papa Johns is also further distancing itself from the former CEO who used to regularly appear in the company’s national advertising campaigns.
One of the ways they are doing that is by dropping the apostrophe from the word “Johns” in the Papa Johns logo.
A Focus On Ingredients
The Papa Johns rebrand will gradually be rolled out in 2022, with new stores featuring an open floor plan, updated kitchens, and a self-service option at the pick-up counter.
The new store decor features updated hues of the recognizable Papa Johns red and green logo colors with a focus on their premium pizza ingredients. The visuals include a tangy tomato red, a fresh basil green, and an off-white fluffy dough.
“We are evolving how the Papa Johns experience comes to life across all touchpoints, while remaining true to what got us where we are today and bringing to life our continued aspirations to improve and grow,” Papa Johns Chief Commercial Officer Max Wetzel said in a statement.
John Schnatter Is Not Impressed
In response to the redesign, Schnatter issued a statement saying it was “gratifying” to see that most of the concepts his company had developed over the last 34 years—high-quality ingredients, customer service, logo colors, slogans, and more—were still supporting Papa Johns’ success. However, Schnatter wasn’t happy about the brand’s logo change.
“Instead of being obsessed with Papa John and irrelevant changes to the brand logo, the company should become obsessed once again with making quality Papa Johns pizza consistently,” Schnatter said. “Try as they may, they can’t have Papa Johns without Papa John.”