When Steve Ritchie was named Chief Executive Officer of Papa John’s International Inc. in January 2018, his professional resume included a lengthy list of positions and accomplishments within the company. In fact, he had worked hard to climb his way up the corporate ladder from a customer service representation in 1996 to his new position at the top rung of the company’s hierarchy. He even spent several years owning and operating his own franchise. Given Ritchie’s unique and company-specific background, he is the perfect individual to guide Papa John’s into the future. He has recently outlined his vision for the company going forward by drawing from his various experiences in previous positions at Papa John’s.
Papa John’s has passionately maintained a focus on putting people first. This is evident in the fact that its customer satisfaction rating as consistently been at the head of the pack in the industry for almost two decades. It also is visible in the company’s culture of promoting from within rather than looking outwardly to fill openings. Papa John’s maintains a global presence through more than 5,000 locations. Stunningly, 98 percent of the managers at these stores have been promoted from lower-level positions in their stores. This may include from a position as a delivery driver or another similar position. Steve Ritchie personally benefited from this culture when he was promoted from his initial customer service position to the role of Assistant Manager and General Manager within a few months. He also attests that his personal understanding of the company’s commitment to this culture is the reason he has devoted his career to Papa John’s. Because of this, Steve Ritchie has reaffirmed the commitment of Papa John’s to make people its top priority.
Another focal point that Steve Ritchie has for the future lies in modernization. Approximately 60 percent of the company’s current global sales stems from mobile or online orders rather than walk-in or phone orders. Ritchie is eager to focus on continuing the company’s transition into the digital realm. Specifically, he intends to focus on enhancing the online or mobile experience of each customer. He also wants to improve the company’s branding and overall operations from a digital perspective. Because he has worked on-site in the areas of customer service, store management and even franchise owner, he understands the importance of digitalization at the store level as well as the benefits that digitalization can have from a company-wide perspective.
Steve Ritchie also recognizes the changing culture in the world we live in, and he understands the importance of operating a company with a culture of acceptance. With this in mind, he has announced that all 120,000 Papa John’s employees worldwide would be required to participate in diversity training. This includes a concentration on unconscious biasness. Prior to being promoted to the position of Chief Executive Officer, Ritchie held executive leadership roles for North American operations, Latin American operations and global operations. Through these positions and other experiences working for Papa John’s, he has a keen awareness about the need to respect and honor other cultures.
After spending more than 23 years working at all levels of the corporate ladder at Papa John’s, Steve Ritchie brings his personal drive, his profound and unique professional experiences and his love of the company’s culture to the table. He has relied on these factors to bring him into his new role as Chief Executive Officer, and he is using them as a basis for guiding the company strongly into the future.