I got the chance a couple of weeks ago to attend the CHART Regional meeting in Louisville, KY at the enormous and expansive Papa John’s Corporate Campus. What a great opportunity to network and I got to meet some “internet” faces. It is always so cool to come face to face with people you blog and twitter with daily. No pun intended but people are so much larger than life in person!

I got to meet Jeff McLanahan, and Terry Mayhem from Papa John’s. Also one of my favorite e-learning gurus from DiscoverLink, Jeff Tenut. Then to top it off, in walks John Schnatter, Papa John himself and he looks just like he does on his commercials. Right behind him is Jude Thompson, COO/President at Papa John's. Now I gotta be honest, I didn’t expect a ton from these two…..small room, no real big wigs in site besides them so I expected the courteous welcome and exit stage right. But what came next was a lesson in leadership centered on VALUES and developing people. Yep, values and people. I love those two things more than anything and I was fixin’ to get inspired. I couldn’t stop my pencil from writing! Let me share just a few of the quotes that came out of his stories and there were a lot of them!

“To get from #3 in pizza sales to #2 it is going to take our people”

“My job is to get 1000 people pulling on the same rope”

“If everyone wins they get excited about themselves and produce more”

“Anxiety is contagious and that’s not something you want to catch”

“If people get isolated they stop communicating”

“It’s good to be on a winning team”

“We are partners”

“We can double team things when we work together”

“I don’t know how business went from 2+2=4 to 2+2=8 but you can bet that math caused our current economy”

“If you don’t take care of the peasant farmers they will rise up and burn down the castle you live in”

“I haven’t laid anyone off, it was expensive, but I haven’t laid anyone off.”

Did you hear what I heard?
1. It’s the people stupid
2. It’s not about you
3. If you are confused about what to do, refer to number one!

And while you are it, tell them the truth….

Better Ingredients, Better Pizza

John Schnatter and his team believe it and it is self-evident in his team’s body language and engagement. The next time I need a quick pizza, I am going to give his product a try. Mission accomplished John and thanks for reinforcing my belief that values and a focus on people can happen in a major corporation while you make a ton of cash!

Views: 8

Tags: Johns, Papa, Swingley, leadership, pizza, restaurant, values


You need to be a member of FohBoh to add comments!

Join FohBoh

Comment by Andy Swingley on June 8, 2009 at 9:02am
@Sean - thanks and yes Texas Roadhouse does put out that same energy, don't they!

@Jeff...that Carnegie fellow was brilliant and ahead of his time!
Comment by Jeff on June 7, 2009 at 1:40pm
i must say, i feel better haveing read this then i did 5 minutes ago, and i've been in a good mood all day. the fact that you've only recieved one neg. comment from papa's people says a lot too. it's nice to see that in the real world the good guys can win too. also interesting to me, many of the quotes that you shared seem to be mirror examples of the principles put forth by carnegie, "how to win friends..."
Comment by Sean Moloney on June 5, 2009 at 4:35pm
As always Andy a great blog. It is nice to hear about companies that are run the way we think and run our businesses. The quote that sums it all up for me is " So goes the leader, so goes the rest". It is apparent that Papa John's sees that as does Texas Roadhouse for me.
Keep up the great inspiration sir!
Comment by Andy Swingley on June 5, 2009 at 12:57pm
Terry it was no problem and my pleasure! Thanks again for the hospitality!

Dan - I have quite a few responses to this blog from past and present Papa John's employees, supervisors, and corporate representatives and only one, yes one, responded that it wasn't exactly the way I portrayed it. That's a good sign.
Comment by Dan Parsons on June 5, 2009 at 12:25pm
I just had Papa John's the other night. Everytime I order from them I know I will receive good service and a high quality pizza. Seems pretty simple. However, in a chain as big as they are, there must be a strong core of leadership to duplicate this consistantly. It has been apparent (and even more apparent after reading your blog) that they have the recipe for success! Thank you for the quotes- I can never hear enough of them :)
Comment by Terry Mayhew on June 4, 2009 at 4:13pm
It was great meeting you at the RTF. I also enjoyed Amanda's informative and fun presentation. Jeff and I appreciate the article you wrote.
John's passion for his people has been the reason for my career choice within this company. I work for a franchisee in West Virginia and they have that same passion. It's great to work for a company such as Papa John's in this economy in which we are triving and having fun. We'll be # 2 soon!!!

I will be at the conference in Cleveland, so I hope to get to talk with you more there.
Comment by Andy Swingley on June 4, 2009 at 2:35pm
Thanks Patrick, well said!

Debra, I always appreciate hearing from you. I think number 2 in sales will come for him before he knows it.

Jeff - appreciate the response, the hospitality, and the learning. Hope to see you in Cleveland!
Comment by Jeff McLanahan on June 4, 2009 at 2:23pm
Thanks for the great article. I believe that John Schnatter and Jude Thompson "set the table" for us as a restaurant company by role modeling the behaviors that they expect from the Papa John's team members. This belief in creating and nurturing a positive culture within the company and living by a set of core values has played a large part in our first 25 years and will continue to shape our future. I was happy and proud to share John and Jude with my peers in the restaurant industry and I am glad that it made an impression on you!
Thank you very much,
Jeff McLanahan, PHR
Senior Director, Restaurant Training
Comment by Patrick Dumont on June 4, 2009 at 9:33am
It is all about the people......You realized that when you interviewed and hired me right?

No really the better the "team" or the people you put together the better quality of work you get. All you have to do is provide them with the correct tools a little guidance then set them on thier way. Throughout your day while traveling on your critical path you swing by check on how things are going.

If all is going well a quick word of praise a pat on the back then move on to the next person. I some correction is needed do so in a positive manner with a word of encouragement then set them on thier way again. With cyclical follow-up, quick praise, and even quicker corrective action you can keep them on the right path making your day just that much easier.

After several tries if sucess is not happening then maybe a different career path should be in the works.

But it all comes down to the people if the people dont work the guest will find somewhere else that it does.




Social Wine Club for Craft Wineries


Kids LiveWell atwitter over Twitter party

In its continuing effort to promote more nutritious and flavorful children's menu options, the NRA will hold a Twitter party  -More

Starbucks could become top on-premise wine seller in U.S.

Starbucks is planning to slowly expand its evening sales of wine, beer and small plates to thousands of selected stores throu -More

The evolving nature of snacks

Snacks have shifted from an after-school treat to a meal alternative as meal times become more fragmented.  -More


Posting a job or finding a job starts here at FohBoh. Call us about special $25 posting packages to syndicate across all major jobs boards.

National News

Wahlburgers Announces Expansion Plans Including Franchise Agreement in Philadelphia

Wahlburgers has signed a franchise agreement with Hingham Associates, LLC that will bring five Wahlburgers to the metropolitan Philadelphia area over the next several years. The franchise group is actively looking at sites and is targeting a late 2014-early 2015 opening for its first restaurant.

Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. First Quarter 2014 Revenue Up 24.4%

Comparable restaurant sales increased 13.4% - Restaurant level operating margin was 25.9%, a decrease of 40 basis points

Jamba Juice Announces Grand Opening of New St. Louis, MO Location

Jamba Juice Company announced the brand’s continued expansion in the St. Louis market with the opening of a Jamba Juice® store at 11477 Olive Blvd. on April 16, 2014.

Expert in Real Estate Analytics Joins Luna Grill

Luna Grill, the San Diego-based Mediterranean restaurant chain, is welcoming retail real estate industry veteran Greg Thorburn to its leadership team. Thorburn has been brought on board to fill the newly created position of Vice-President of Real Estate.

Rita's Italian Ice Awards Area Development Agreement for Kansas

Rita's Italian Ice has awarded franchise and area development agreements for Kansas and the Kansas City area, which extends to the Missouri side of the city, to franchisees and local residents Jay Miller, Jeff Miller and Pat Reilly.


If you are looking for capital to start or grow your restaurant, create the next 501c3, develop and launch the next app for the restaurant industry,or want to help your peers in some meaningful way, we want to know about it.


TED: Matthew Carter: My life in typefaces - Matthew Carter (2014)

Pick up a book, magazine or screen, and more than likely you'll come across some typography designed by Matthew Carter. In this charming talk, the man behind typefaces such as Verdana, Georgia and Bell Centennial (designed just for phone books -- remember them?), takes us on a spin through a career focused on the very last pixel of each letter of a font.

TED: Jeremy Kasdin: The flower-shaped starshade that might help us detect Earth-like planets - Jeremy Kasdin (2014)

Astronomers believe that every star in the galaxy has a planet, one fifth of which might harbor life. Only we haven't seen any of them -- yet. Jeremy Kasdin and his team are looking to change that with the design and engineering of an extraordinary piece of equipment: a flower petal-shaped "starshade" that allows a telescope to photograph planets from 50,000 kilometers away. It is, he says, the "coolest possible science."

TED: Norman Spack: How I help transgender teens become who they want to be - Norman Spack (2013)

Puberty is an awkward time for just about everybody, but for transgender teens it can be a nightmare, as they grow overnight into bodies they aren't comfortable with. In a heartfelt talk, endocrinologist Norman Spack tells a personal story of how he became one of the few doctors in the US to treat minors with hormone replacement therapy. By staving off the effects of puberty, Spack gives trans teens the time they need. (Filmed at TEDxBeaconStreet.)

TED: Jennifer Senior: For parents, happiness is a very high bar - Jennifer Senior (2014)

The parenting section of the bookstore is overwhelming—it's "a giant, candy-colored monument to our collective panic," as writer Jennifer Senior puts it. Why is parenthood filled with so much anxiety? Because the goal of modern, middle-class parents—to raise happy children—is so elusive. In this honest talk, she offers some kinder and more achievable aims.

© 2014   Created by FohBoh.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service