10 Facts You May Not Know About Papa John’s

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Calling all pizza lovers! With Papa John’s operating for over 30 years, we’re taking a look at the history and heritage of our brand, from the company’s inception in 1985 to the present day.

So sit back (preferably with your pizza) and take a look at these ten facts about Papa John’s which helped make our pizza restaurant the brand it is now.

1. John Schnatter Baked His First Pizza in 1972

John Schnatter, the founder of Papa John’s, baked his first pizza back in 1972 for the customers eating in his father’s tavern in Jeffersonville, Indiana, US.

From that moment onwards, he had a vision of creating the ultimate tasting pizzas for people to enjoy, which ultimately led him to where he is today.
The phrase that John believed in as he pushed towards this vision and goal was as follows:

“Bake a better pizza and the world will beat a path to your door.”

Papa John's Logo

2. Papa John Sold His Camaro Z28 to Help His Father’s Business

Whilst working in his father’s tavern, named Mick’s Lounge, John discovered that it was close to becoming bankrupt.

To help his father, Robert Schnatter, John sold his beloved Camaro Z28 for $2,800 so that the money could go towards his father’s business.
The story is now ingrained in the history of Papa John’s, and you’ll often hear John mention the car or see pictures of the beautiful 1971 Camaro Z28 in his outlets.

This video even shows Papa John taking the car for a spin at the Daytona International Speedway.

3. John Schnatter Began Delivering Pizzas When He Was 22

To take his vision to the next level, John Schnatter knocked down the broom closet of his father’s tavern so he could start delivering pizzas.
Once this minor renovation was complete, he purchased $1,600 of restaurant equipment and used Mick’s Lounge to deliver pizzas from the back of the bar.

John was only 22 years of age when he started delivering pizzas from his father’s tavern.

4. The First Papa John’s Restaurant Opened in 1985

In 1983, John Schnatter came back from Ball State University, where he had obtained a business degree, to manage Mick’s Lounge.

Shortly after that, in 1985, the first Papa John’s restaurant opened in an empty retail space next to the bar in Jeffersonville, Indiana.

The original eight-by-ten-foot kitchen had expanded from a broom closest to the first ever Papa John’s.

5. Papa John’s Expanded to 100 Restaurants from 1986 to 1992

Between 1986 and 1992, after a rapid acceleration in growth, Papa John’s sold its first franchise and expanded to 100 restaurants.

This period was crucial for the company’s success, and part of that success was down to the development and expansion of the pizza market at this time.

During the mid-1980s and early 1990s, the pizza market grew more quickly than any other sector of the restaurant industry.
Further expansion was now on the horizon.

6. Online Ordering Was Born in 2001

The days of only being able to call Papa John’s and place an order over the phone became a thing of the past.

In 2001, Papa John’s embraced the online world and customers were able to order via the Internet.

This marked both a change in technology and a shift in the way that customers could get their fresh pizzas, sides, drinks and desserts delivered to their front door.

Papa John's Site

7. Supermac’s Partnered with Papa John’s to Launch Ireland Restaurants

The founder of Supermac’s, Pat McDonagh, saw the potential to offer traditional and quality pizzas in Ireland, and in 2004 a partnership with Papa John’s was born.

Whilst in the US, Pat McDonagh discovered the true taste of Papa John’s pizzas and wanted to serve them in his own restaurant.

Fast forward to today and you’ll find over 50 Papa John’s takeaway restaurants in Ireland thanks to the partnership that was developed back in 2004.

8. Papa John’s Received a Guinness World Record for Customer Service Ratings

With a strong focus on creating the tastiest pizzas in town and offering unrivalled customer service, Papa John’s achieved a Guinness World Record in 2006.

The record itself was awarded for the company’s seven-year winning streak in customer satisfaction ratings, and it’s an achievement that we’re extremely proud of.

It doesn’t stop there, though. At Papa John’s we are constantly striving to improve our pizzas so that both existing and new customers can enjoy pure pizza perfection.

9. The UK’s 200th Restaurant Opened in 2013

Expansion in the UK happened much later, though even more quickly, than in the US.

In November 2013, the 200th Papa John’s restaurant opened on Duke Street in Glasgow, Scotland.

This allowed more people in the UK to experience the ‘better ingredients, better pizza’ philosophy of Papa John’s, and more stores were to follow.

10. There Are Over 4,600 Papa John’s Restaurants around the World

What started out as one man baking pizzas in a small kitchen in a tavern in Jeffersonville, Indiana in 1972 has expanded to become an established global brand.

Since Papa John’s launched over 30 years ago, 4,600 restaurants have opened around the world, offering pizza to customers in 34 countries.

It’s a remarkable achievement, and one that is continuing to move in the right direction.

Eat Your Slice

So there you have it: ten facts you may not know about Papa John’s.

If all of this has inspired you to place an order, why not visit the Papa John’s website today?

Simply select your store location or check out the latest Papa John’s offers or rewards.

Papa John’s – Better Ingredients, Better Pizza