Inc.com posted an article on Papa John’s CEO, John Schnatter, apologizing to his customers. Previously, Schnatter blamed a decline in sales on the National Football League (NFL) being unable to conclude their protest involving the national anthem. Following this Schnatter used a rational slur on a conference call, unsurprisingly this only pushed more negative press to Schnatter.
Steve Ritchie; Papa Johns other CEO, came up with a way to help mend the situation. He sent multiple letters to customers apologizing for the recent events and explained that these events; especially the racial slur, would not be tolerated by the company. Acknowledging that an apology may not turn people around, Steve Ritchie went on to describe what was being done to better the company as a whole. One of these actions involves bringing experts that don’t have an affiliation with Papa John’s to audit the company on their culture, diversity, and inclusion practices. There will also be senior management listening to employees directly and using that feedback to improve the company. Lastly, Steve Ritchie Papa John’s made a promise that transparency is key and that they want to be held accountable for what has transpired.
This letter that Steve Ritchie sent out to customers shows more compassion and is quite a bit clearer than the statement that was placed on the Papa Johns website. As per nrn.com, leading the consumer to assume that Ritchie realized this error and tried to rectify the issue in a slightly more personal matter in the form of letters. The article goes on to explain that the vulnerability on wanting to be held accountable and the empathy helped show sincere regret and that while Ritchie was empathetic about the situation, made sure to state that his own views differed from Schnatters and that he would personally lead the effort to address the issues on diversity and inclusion that have come forth. So, while the first letter on the website didn’t hold much in terms of sincerity or empathy, the second letter helps to overlook the slight due to the quick adjustments made through the second letter customers received. Read this article about Ritchie’s promotion.