Papa John’s CEO Steve Ritchie Is Creating New Diversity Efforts

Papa John’s CEO Steve Ritchie is ramping up the company’s diversity initiatives. The company sent a message to consumers in a video posted on social media. The video featured complaints Papa John’s received from customers with the response, “You expected better from Papa John’s. So did we.”

In addition to the social media campaign Steve Ritchie wrote a letter to employees outlining what Papa John’s was doing to correct course after troubling sales reports. Same store sales dropped 6.1% in the second quarter, and 10.5% in the following month. In the letter to employees, CEO Steve Ritchie wrote that the company’s leadership had received unconscious bias training and plans to roll out this training nationwide. Ritchie also wrote that an independent cultural audit is underway and would provide “actionable recommendations.”

Steve Ritchie and other Papa John’s leaders visited several major cities as part of a listening tour to gain input from employees and franchise owners on how Papa John’s can improve. Ritchie is also establishing a special advisory committee of diversity experts to guide the company. Ritchie said he is personally committed to increasing diversity to the Papa John’s leadership team.

The company under CEO Steve Ritchie’s leadership is starting two long-term initiatives in addition to the diversity efforts already underway. The first is a Papa John’s women and minority owned franchise expansion and development program. The second is the formation of a foundation focused on improving the communities in which employees live.

Steve Ritchie wrote about the initiatives on social media, saying “And now we’re all looking inwards, reclaiming the responsibilities Papa John’s has to our partners, customers and communities. In thinking about what we want the Papa John’s name to stand for moving forward, we’re now going where we should have been all along.”

Ritchie acknowledged that the initiatives “are only a start.” He ended his statement by asking employees to hold the company and himself accountable, writing, “But please hold us accountable to these words and commitments. Hold me accountable to them.”