Our History of Success
"Bake a better pizza and the world will beat a path to your door.”
That maxim has been at the heart of our thinking at Papa John’s since our founder, John Schnatter, baked his first pizzas back in 1972 for the customers in his father’s tavern in Indiana.
The first Papa John’s restaurant opens in Jeffersonville, Indiana
We sell our first franchise and grow to 100 Papa John’s restaurants
Initial Public Offering of shares in Papa John’s triggers a period of rapid growth
The birth of Papa John’s online ordering
2006 We are awarded a Guinness World Record for our 7-year winning streak on customer satisfaction ratings
Papa John’s opens its 200th store in the UK
Papa’s Quality Guarantee launches in the UK
Who is Papa John?
John's dad, Robert Schnatter, and his grandfather, “Papaw” Ackerson, drilled into John the importance of hard work.
At 15 years old, he landed his first job at Rocky's Sub Pub, a local pizza restaurant, and worked his way up from dishwasher to pizza maker. That experience inspired him to open his own pizza restaurant and create a superior quality pizza chain.
John received a business degree from Ball State University. He worked at his father's tavern, Mick's Lounge, and after learning that it was on the verge of bankruptcy he sold his prized 1972 Camaro Z28 for $2,800 to help save the business.
He knocked down the broom closet of Mick's Lounge, purchased used restaurant equipment, and began delivering pizzas out of the back of the bar. Papa John's Pizza was born!
We want the whole world to love our pizzas as much as we do. That’s why we’re all about the attention to detail, the focus on quality, the refusal to compromise on delivering the best pizza that we possibly can. And all around the world, the tens of thousands of great people who work with Papa John’s share that same vision.
At Papa John’s, we make all our original dough from scratch at our HQ, to be delivered fresh to all our restaurants around the country.
Only the best ingredients go into our dough, like high-quality protein, unbleached wheat flour, purified water, yeast and salt… and certainly none of those so-called ‘dough conditioners’, to make the same original, high quality dough – plain, simple, and simply delicious – that John Schnatter was producing in the back room, all those years ago.