9 Things You Didn't Know About Papa John's

Papa John's is the third-largest pizza delivery chain in the world behind Pizza Hut and Domino's, and it differentiated itself from the pack by claiming to use only the freshest ingredients. But are those ingredients really fresh? And who is Papa John, exactly? Read on to learn nine things you probably didn't know about this hugely popular chain. 

It Started in the Back of a Broom Closet

In order to make room for the pizzeria, Schnatter knocked out the back of a broom closet in his father's bar.

Schnatter Sold His Camaro to Finance the Business, and Later Bought it Back

In order to finance the business, Schnatter sold his 1971 Z28 Camaro and bought $1,600 worth of used pizza equipment. 26 years later, in 2009, he bought the car back from the family he originally sold it to!

It Was the First National Pizza Chain to Offer Online Ordering

Papa John's launched online ordering in January 2002, and most other national chains quickly followed suit

Schnatter Earned $3.4 Million in 2014

According to Salary.com, he received $1.696 million in cash and $1.76 million in equity for the year 2014. 

Peyton Manning Is a Franchise Owner

In October 2012, Manning, star quarterback of the Denver Broncos, purchased 21 Papa John's franchises in the Denver area. 

A Delivery Driver Was Carjacked, and the Company Handled It Very Well

In January 2015, a Papa John's delivery driver was carjacked in Decatur, Georgia, and shot the carjacker after being forced to the ground. Instead of firing the employee for carrying a gun on the job, the company reassigned her to an in-store position and paid for her counseling. 

The Company Has Been Sued Several Times

Papa John's was sued by Pizza Hut in 1997 over their slogan "Better Ingredients. Better Pizza," and the court ruled that it's not a literal fact; fresher ingredients don't always make for a better pizza. This ruling was overturned in 2000 after Papa John's appealed. They were also sued in 2012 after sending out more than 500,000 unwanted text messages to consumers, settling for $16.5 million; and five Manhattan locations were sued by the New York State Attorney General for unpaid wages in 2014 and were forced to pay $2 million. 

They Once Had the Naming Rights to a College Bowl

In 2006, Papa John's paid to name a Birmingham, Alabama, post-season college bowl game the PapaJohns.com Bowl. They didn't renew their contract with bowl owner ESPN in 2010, so the bowl has since been called the Birmingham Bowl. 

Their Ingredients Are Actually Fresh

The dough used to make their pizzas doesn't contain any dough conditioners, is never frozen, and is hand-tossed to order; the sauce is made from fresh-picked tomatoes and doesn't contain any high-fructose corn syrup or artificial ingredients; the meats contain no fillers; the cheese is real part-skim mozzarella; and all vegetables are sent to stores fresh multiple times per week.