Pizza is about as American as NFL football, and Papa John’s knew it. The Papa John’s founder, John Schnatter, saw a strategic opportunity to link his pizza chain to the NFL, with a vision to ride revenues driven by the American love of football. It sounded like a good strategy, until it wasn’t. If you invested $10,000 in Papa John’s stock in July of 2017, one year later you would have lost about 50% of the value. Papa John’s pizza didn’t change over that year, but the relationship between football, American culture and politics did, and Papa John’s suffered as a result.
For this mini-case, you have been hired as an Organizational Culture and Strategy consultant for Papa John’s pizza. How exciting! You have a lot to catch up. Let’s begin by doing some research and analysis.
First, let’s do some background.
Here's a good (though biased!) overview of our case's focus:
Who is the founder of Papa John’s? What is he about? Check out this page about John Schnatter and how Papa John's got started (https://archive.fortune.com/2009/09/22/news/companies/papa_johns_pizza_schnatter.fortune/index.htm). How would you summarize him? How do you think he would define his personal mission? Who is he and what is he focused on?
Next, you need to take a careful look at the Papa John’s website (https://www.papajohns.com). Click around and determine what their business model is, what their strategy is, and consider how are they implementing it. How do they view people? What’s the prevailing philosophy of management?
What about the strategic view we get from looking at their financials? Check out their stock price and trends carefully (https://www.google.com/finance/quote/PZZA:NASDAQ?biw=1440&bih=803#scso=uid_p2pHW4O9Hovv_QaG9oqoBw_5:0), noting the ups and downs and how they correlate to what you have read in the news.
What about their latest quarterly results (https://www.google.com/finance/quote/PZZA:NASDAQ?safe=off&biw=1440&bih=803&ei=p2pHW4O9Hovv_QaG9oqoBw&oq=NASDAQ:PZZA+trends+&gs_l=finance-immersive.3...793941.795199.0.795400.8.8.0.0.0.0.148.502.0j4.4.0....0...1.1.64.finance-immersive..4.0.0....0.9NNtYQ8V-Js#scso=uid_x21HW-yEH-Gj_QaDx524DQ_5:0&wptab=COMPANY)?
Second, let’s get caught up on what’s been happening in the news.
Click the following and prepare to write a strategic summary of Papa John’s current context.
A fascinating update:
Also please check out this recent commercial, that deeply reflects what's been going on with the company. Fascinating!
Of course, because of the controversy around the founder, there was a spoof quickly posted, which quickly went viral. If you are curious, here's a link, though the language is rough! I post it here because I think it's a vivid commentary on the company's struggles and how tarnished the brand has become:
Third, let’s think strategy.
You have been hired to help Papa John’s think about their organizational culture and their strategy. Look back at what you have written. Any edits? Is it sufficient? Have you summarized well?
Your plan might include town hall meetings with specific topics, a series of emails to all employees, a new brand, whatever you think will help the company move forward! Be creative and seek to apply what we have been learning.
Be detailed! Don’t write “Town Hall meetings” without giving the venue, the topic, etc. Be sure to post time markers throughout. What’s the order of your plan? Why? And keep it concise! No more than one page, please.