Papa John’s CEO, Rob Lynch, began demonstrating his intent to do things differently within the first three days of his tenure at the helm of the fourth-largest U.S. pizza delivery franchise and restaurant chain. After spending days one and two in interviews and speaking with analysts, he announced on day three that the next priority was to discuss innovation and new ideas. It was time to do some things differently.
It took less than two months to implement the first of several innovations that grew from Lynch’s initial round of meetings as the company’s new CEO. After learning that the company’s management team was formerly instructed to never make any changes to the pizza dough, a simple change gave rise to the Epic Stuffed Crust Pizza. The product enabled the company to reach out to one of the pizza industry’s largest customer sectors.
The selection of Rob Lynch as Papa John’s CEO to replace the company’s founder, John Schnatter, in 2019 proved a wise choice. In addition to launching new menu items, the company incorporated both new electronic and mechanical technology into its business operations. Sales figures measured by same-store volume changes began to increase quickly during the 2019 fourth quarter. They reached 7.5% by the next quarterly period.
How Papa John’s CEO Plans to Use Technology to Further the Company
The company has been rolling out a new phone ordering system that uses artificial intelligence to manage customers’ orders. The new system adds AI-enhanced features that help build customer loyalty through reward points that increase both the number of items ordered per call and the frequency of orders called in.
Papa John’s new CEO Rob Lynch has also shown that technology can bring improvements to the food-preparation process. It was demonstrated that an investment in new food-production technology that can flatten pizza dough now takes 40 seconds out of each pizza’s production time.
Papa John’s CEO Emphasis on New Product Creation
In addition to streamlining the pizza-making process, offering new menu items has been another priority. Named after retired NBA star and current Papa John’s board member Shaquille O’Neal, the Shaq-a-Roni pie was introduced. The new pie combines extra cheese and pepperoni with slices cut into the largest size the company offers. Some innovative and well-directed promotional enhancements helped launch the new product.
To help the company develop a greater presence in the daytime business sector, CEO Lynch inaugurated the new Papa John’s Papadias menu item. A lunch-crowd offering that resembles a sandwich, the Papadias helped increase the company’s share in a business sector that previously amounted to less than a quarter of its sales. Because both the new Shaq-a-Roni and Papadias offerings make use of ingredients already on-hand, franchise owners were able to add them to their menus without placing strain on their operation.
A Transformational Leader Focusing on Future Growth
CEO Lynch has shown himself to be a transformational leader that has rebuilt his company’s culture along with its customer perception. A reset after a previous culture and market-perception crisis was needed to bring the focus back to top-notch customer service and outstanding food offerings. The measure of Ron Lynch’s success can be easily verified by anyone who calls in an order.
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