Papa John's founder vows 'day of reckoning,' says pizzas aren't as good since his ouster

After claiming he ate 40 pizzas in 30 days, John Schnatter said, "The way they're making the pizza is just not fundamental to what makes a Papa John's pizza."
Image: John Schnatter, founder and chief executive of Papa John's Pizza
John Schnatter, founder and chief executive of Papa John's Pizza, arrives at the 2011 American Music Awards in Los Angeles on Nov. 20, 2011.Danny Moloshok / Reuters file

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By David K. Li

Ousted pizza CEO John Schnatter insisted he's downed more than one Papa John's pie a day in the past month and concluded the slices he once made are no longer of the same high quality.

The founder of Papa John's, Schnatter stepped down as CEO and left the board for allegedly uttering a racial slur during a conference call. He said his former company has failed in keeping up with its long-time slogan: "Better Ingredients, Better Pizza."

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"I've had over 40 pizzas in the last 30 days, and it's not the same pizza," Schnatter told WDRB, a Fox affiliate in Louisville, Kentucky. "It's not the same product. It just doesn't taste as good."

In the interview that aired on Tuesday, Schnatter added: "The way they're making the pizza is just not fundamental to what makes a Papa John's pizza."

Schnatter vowed that he'd see "a day of reckoning" and said board members who forced him out will have to pay up.

He particularly singled out his one-time protegee, Steve Ritchie, who took over as CEO but has since been replaced. Schnatter said of he and current board chairman Jeff Smith: "The one thing he and I agree on is that Steve Ritchie is not a CEO."

The current CEO is former Arby's president Rob Lynch — who knows meats but not pizza, according to Schnatter.

"He has never been a CEO," Schnatter said. "He has no pizza experience. He has never been in the pizza category. He doesn't really know quality. Probably most important, he doesn't have a passion for people."

A rep for Papa John’s International Inc. could not be immediately reached for comment on Tuesday.