Meet The Pizza Expert, John Schnatter
As a high school student working at a local pizza pub in Jeffersonville, Indiana, Papa John's founder John Schnatter felt there was something missing from national pizza chains – a superior-quality traditional pizza delivered right to the customer's door. His dream was to one day open a pizza restaurant that would fill that void.
In 1983, John picked up his business degree from Ball State University and went back to Jeffersonville, Indiana. There, at the age of 22, he knocked down the broom closet of his father's tavern (Mick's Lounge), purchased $1600 worth of used restaurant equipment, and began delivering pizzas out of the back of the bar.
From day one, John knew he could make a better pizza by using fresh dough and superior-quality ingredients, and he refused to sway from that commitment to quality. It worked, and people loved his pizza. In 1984, John opened his first Papa John's restaurant, and Papa John's has been going strong ever since. Today, Papa John's is the recognized leader of the pizza category and now owns or franchises more than 3,500 restaurants in all 50 states and 29 countries. More than 25 years later, one thing remains the same – Papa John's is still fully committed to delivering on its brand promise of "Better Ingredients. Better Pizza."
"Making a quality pizza using Better Ingredients has been the foundation of Papa John's for more than 25 years. You have my commitment that Papa John's will not stray from the foundation of quality & superiority upon which the company was built. We will always strive to be your 'Better' Pizza Company." - John Schnatter
Founder John Schnatter's sacrifice has paid off, as Papa John's has rapidly grown into more than 3,100 restaurants nationwide. But he always wondered what happened to his prized '72 Camaro Z28 that hadn't been seen since 1984. So, during the summer of 2009, John took to the open road behind the wheel of a replica '72 Z28 Camaro, very similar to the one he sacrificed, to travel nationwide and tell his story of how he's living and breathing the American dream…and also to find hisbeloved car that started it all.
Papa John has since been reunited with his beloved Camaro, and he gave the owner $250,000 just to get it back. Finally, John's two loves – his Camaro and delivering on his brand promise of "Better Ingredients. Better Pizza." have been reunited.
"My Z28 is a real-life, daily reminder that anyone can accomplish anything with a little hard work and sacrifice. Having my Camaro back helps me remember there is no substitute for hard work, faith and an insistence on delivering the very best pizza and service in the industry."- John Schnatter