She said she talked to Papa John's CEO Steve Ritchie and company board members. Papa John's could win back customers with a marketing campaign like Wells Fargo, Uber or Facebook's.
The fallout from Papa John's founder John Schnatter's controversial comment during a conference call continued Friday as University of Louisville president Neeli Bendapudi announced that the school will change the name of its football stadium to Cardinal Stadium from Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. Papa John's said there are no plans to change its name. Both companies company tied their brands to a single person - a risky endeavor when those people act counter to the brand's purported values.
The situation illustrates the difficulty when companies are closely tied to a single person, and that Papa John's may need to publicly distance itself further from Schnatter after dealing with backlashes brought about by his comments. The promotion was suspended after CEO John Schnatter resigned in the wake of racial remarks.
On Wednesday, Papa John's founder John Schnatter quit his chairman of the board role after it was reported that he used the N-word during a conference call in May. The company got a taste of that previous year, when Schnatter stepped down as CEO after blaming disappointing pizza sales on the outcry surrounding football players kneeling during the national anthem. The University of Louisville also said Schnatter resigned from its board of trustees, and that the school will evaluate the naming arrangement for Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.
The Houston Astros didn't announce any direct plans to continue or suspend its relationship with Papa John's, but gave a similar statement, expressing that the team was "incredibly disappointed with the statements made by Papa John's founder John Schnatter", while also saying that they feel "confident that the local franchisees and their employees share the Astros' commitment to diversity and inclusiveness".
"Mr. Schnatter's comments were offensive and inexcusable", the club said in a statement provided to The Times.
Schnatter had used the slur during a media training exercise, Forbes said.
Bendapudi said Schnatter was apologetic in a conversation they had recently and that he was "very supportive" of taking his name off the Center for Free Enterprise.
Papa John's, based in Louisville, Kentucky, began operations in 1984 and had more than 5,200 locations globally.