Papa’s got a brand new look.
Papa John’s Pizza released a new logo and renderings of planned changes to its restaurants Tuesday morning, the latest step as the company works to distance itself from founder and former CEO John Schnatter.
The company also has dropped the apostrophe in its name, rebranding as “Papa Johns.” But consumers are more likely to notice other changes the corporation is putting in place.
Renderings show more open floor plans for its restaurants and a self-service pickup counter for customers to take home their orders without waiting in line. The company also has released a new logo, though it appears to be sticking with its longtime slogan of “Better ingredients. Better pizza.” The brand has also updated its color scheme, brightening its green and red hues.
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The new design elements, according to a release from the company, “will modernize the Papa Johns experience and build deeper emotional connections with customers, team members and communities, while preserving what has made the brand so successful – its commitment to high-quality, delicious food created from premium ingredients.”
The changes to restaurants will be rolled out gradually, according to the company. And there’s no need to expect big changes to your order – Papa Johns pizzas will still come with a pepperoncini pepper and garlic sauce cup.
The visual rebrand had been in the works for years and is the latest step by Papa Johns to remake its image following the resignation of Schnatter from the company in 2018.
Schnatter, who founded the massive pizza chain in 1984, stepped down as CEO of the company in early 2018 after suggesting player protests in the NFL had hurt business at his restaurants. Months later, he resigned from the Papa Johns board of directors after it was reported that he’d used a racial slur on a conference call, though he’s said he was quoting someone else when he used the phrase.
Schnatter has since filed a lawsuit against the company, claiming the public relations firm that had worked with him on the call set him up with the intent to damage his reputation. That lawsuit is still pending.
For years the company has operated out of its eastern Louisville office, though it announced last year it planned to open a new global headquarters in Atlanta.
Schnatter is no longer associated with Papa Johns but has sold more than $500 million in company stock in recent years, according to a recent Bloomberg report in which he said he’d sampled 800 Papa Johns pizzas in the past 18 months to test their quality.
Schnatter, in a statement, said it’s “gratifying” to see the rebrand continue to incorporate many concepts that have been in place since the company opened more than 30 years ago. His criticism in recent years, he said, “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,” Schnatter said. “Papa Johns should be obsessed with making quality pizza consistently and not obsessed with Papa John. Try as they may, they can’t have Papa Johns without Papa John.”