Papa John’s CEO Steve Ritchie Optimistic Going Forward, Recognizes Remaining Challenges In Regaining Customers’ Trust

CEO Steve Ritchie of the Louisville-based Papa John’s said that the company is on its way back to recovery but recognized that the company still has work to do to regain customers’ trust.

A recent third-quarter earnings report for Papa John’s showed declining revenue, earnings per share, and same-store sales. The company reported earnings of $364 million dollars, which fell short of analysts’ expectations and was 16% lower than the company’s revenue of $431.7 million a year earlier. The company reported earnings per share of 20 cents, down from 60 cents a year prior. North American same-store sales for the company were down 10%, while international same-store sales were down 3.3%.

Total international sales however increased by 10%, driven by new stores.

Following the dismal third-quarter earnings report, CEO Steve Ritchie spoke on a conference call. He acknowledged the company’s continuing struggles, saying, “Progress is being made, and we took important steps in the quarter. We still face challenges and know more work needs to be done.”

Steve Ritchie said despite these challenges he was still optimistic about future opportunities, citing data from several different research firms which showed customers’ perception of the company had shifted from negative to neutral or even positive, following the company’s September “Voices” campaign.

Ritchie also said that he thought the company’s recent restructuring of its’ executive suite would help the company bring its focus back to the customers. The restructuring added four new vice president positions and is being led by industry expert Mike Nettles.

Steve Ritchie Papa John’s summed up his feelings in a recent news release, saying “During the quarter, we took important actions resulting in improved consumer sentiment and North America comp sales that were slightly ahead of expectations. While the operating environment remains challenging, these early indicators combined with our strong cash flow give us confidence in the consumer initiatives underway across the Company.”

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