ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Papa John’s is changing the name of the company and the founder is chiming in about the decision. John Schnatter was known as “Papa John” after starting the chain in 1984. The company is now distancing itself from the former CEO and dropping the apostrophe.
The pizza chain, which formerly used the possessive form of “Papa John’s” for its branding and marketing, will now be known as “Papa Johns” for all customer-facing purposes and written references going forward.
Schnatter criticized the NFL for its handling of the national anthem kneeling protests. He later resigned as chairman of the board following controversy over a training exercise he participated in, during which he used the n-word.
This is a statement that Schnatter released on Tuesday evening:
“Today, Papa John’s announced several changes to the brand and store layout. While brands evolve over time to meet market demand, it’s gratifying to see that most of the concepts we developed over 34 years – including high-quality ingredients, customer service, logo colors, slogans, and more – are still supporting the company’s success. I am especially hopeful for the continued success of the franchisees, most of whom I know very well.
My criticism of company management over the past three years has rested largely on their refusal to admit they were wrong about the false media narrative about me and my legacy, and their failure to maintain a commitment to the principles on which we built the company brand, including consistent product quality with every single pizza made.
Considering the enduring association of Papa John with the brand, the company’s change to the brand logo today is misplaced. 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 John’s pizza consistently. Try as they may, they can’t have Papa Johns without Papa John.”John Schnatter
Papa Johns revealed plans for its new identity in a press release issued Tuesday, but did not specifically address the name change or the reasoning behind it. A representative for Papa Johns would only say that removing the apostrophe was “not abnormal” for a longtime brand.