Papa John’s distances itself further from founder Schnatter in brand refresh

Papa John’s distances itself further from founder Schnatter in brand refresh

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Papa John's is undergoing a brand refresh, including a new logo, store design and visual brand identity, as the pizza chain looks to further distance itself from its disgraced founder and former CEO John Schnatter. 

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The company's new logo and advertising will feature updated hues of the pizza chain's signature red and green colors and highlight the company's ingredients. In addition, the logo is dropping the apostrophe from the word Johns. 

Papa Johns new visual identity draws inspiration from its ingredients and is brought to life through colors like tangy tomato (red), fresh basil (green), fluffy dough (off-white), a custom typography, photos and illustrations. (Papa Johns)

Meanwhile, the new locations will have an open floorplan, updated kitchens, a new self-service pick-up counter. Similar to the logo and ads, decor in the stores will also showcase ingredients. 

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Papa Johns new restaurant design will provide seamless purchasing and pick-up experiences for customers and empower Papa Johns team members to more efficiently prepare quality food.

"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 John's chief commercial officer Max Wetzel said in a statement. "This new experience is both a celebration of our tremendous momentum and a vision to inspire future growth."

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The redesign will be rolled out in a gradual, phased approach to customers and team members beginning this month and a spokesperson told FOX Business it expects construction of restaurants implementing the new design to begin next year.

"Some of our touchpoints, like digital channels, have already been updated with our new logo, while other touchpoints, like restaurant signs, will have the flexibility to be updated over time," the spokesperson explained. "This period of overlap was carefully considered as we built the visual identity system, to ensure that the previous and new could co-exist in the market for a period of time."

John Schnattner visits “Mornings with Maria” hosted by Maria Bartiromo at Fox Business Network Studios on Sept. 9, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Steven Ferdman/Getty Images)

John Schnatter, who resigned from the company in 2018 after using a racial slur during a conference call, has previously claimed that he was "set up" by the Papa Johns' board of directors and Laundry Service executives. Immediately following the controversy, Papa Johns put out new ads focused on a diverse group of franchisees to distance themselves. 

An investigation by former FBI director Louis Freeh determined 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 also said that Schnatter's personal experiences and reputation with prominent African Americans and other people of color "completely validates and corroborates the separate finding that Mr. Schnatter had no prejudicial intent or racial animus when he made the public comments at issue." 

In addition, Freeh argued that facts and fairness were "drowned out by the more sensationalized mischaracterization in the mainstream and social media."

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Papa Johns isn't the only company that has refreshed its brand and redesigned its stores in recent years.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
PZZAPAPA JOHN’S INTERNATIONAL, INC.130.07+0.77+0.59%
MCDMCDONALD’S CORP.252.49-0.07-0.03%
RBIn.a.n.a.n.a.n.a.

In November 2020, McDonald's announced plans for drive-thru-only restaurants, new packaging and a meat alternative offering called McPlant, which is co-developed with Beyond Meat. The McPlant made its debut in the U.S. in October. In addition, Burger King announced a redesign of its stores in September 2020 and unveiled a new logo and packaging in January. 

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