Louisville, Ky.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Twenty-five years ago, "Papa" John Schnatter sold his beloved '72 Z28 Camaro to fund his other passion: delivering a superior-quality pizza to the residents of his hometown.
That commitment to "Better Ingredients. Better Pizza." can be seen and felt every day in all 3,400 Papa John's restaurants worldwide. The '72 Z28 Camaro? Well, that's a different story. It hasn't been seen since 1984. So Schnatter is offering a $25,000 reward for the person who can point him in the direction of the car that started it all.
To spread the word, Schnatter is embarking on a nationwide road trip in a replica '72 Z28 Camaro, very similar to the one he sold in 1984. Along the way, he'll be making personal pizza deliveries and sharing his American Dream story with his thousands of loyal customers and team members. Kicking off at Papa John's Louisville global headquarters today, road trip stops will include Atlanta, Houston, New York, Baltimore, Washington D.C., Chicago, St. Louis, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Denver.
"After 25 years . . . it's still about the pizza. Papa John's has experienced terrific growth in every respect over the past 25 years, but the success of the brand today is rooted in the principles we first established upon launching this company in 1984 – quality pizza, terrific service and a personal relationship with the customers," said Schnatter, Papa John's founder and CEO. "Hitting the road to mark the 25th anniversary of the company helps to strengthen that commitment, learn more from our customers in all corners of the country, and remind all of us there is no substitute for hard work, faith, and an insistence on delivering the very best pizza and service in the industry."
"My Z28 is a real-life, daily reminder that anyone can accomplish anything with a little hard work and sacrifice," Schnatter continued. "What better time to take that car on the road than in our 25th anniversary year, when the economic climate greatly resembles that of 1984, as people across the nation are looking for a little inspiration?"
Chronicling the journey will be two intern sidekicks who will log Schnatter's road trip adventures online via an array of photos, videos, blogs, and tweets. Also at www.papasroadtrip.com, Schnatter and the sidekicks will release clues about Schnatter's original '72 Z28 Camaro in the hopes that someone will reveal the car's whereabouts.
That twenty-five-year history of Papa John's has included a number of milestones. In 1995, Papa John's opened its 1,000th store. It only took seven more years to reach 3,000 and in 1998, Papa John's opened its first restaurant outside North America. Now, Papa John's has restaurants in six continents and 29 countries.
In addition, the company was the first national pizza chain to offer online ordering in 2001 and, in 2007, the first to offer text message ordering. Earlier this week, Papa John's unveiled more groundbreaking technology with the introduction of an augmented reality feature at www.papasroadtrip.com, which allows site visitors to drive a virtual Z28 Camaro through the interaction of a printable icon with their webcam. The same icon will debut on pizza boxes next month, making Papa John's one of the first brands in the world to offer augmented reality at point-of-purchase.
A graduate of Ball State University, Schnatter is the youngest-ever inductee into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame in 2007, was honored by the National Jaycees as one of their Outstanding Young Americans (2000), and received the National Ernst & Young award for Retail/Consumer Entrepreneur of the Year in 1998.
Headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, Papa John's International, Inc. (NASDAQ: PZZA) is the world's third largest pizza company. For nine of the last 10 years, consumers have rated Papa John's No. 1 in customer satisfaction among all national pizza chains in the highly regarded American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). Papa John's also ranks first among pizza companies in the 2008 Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index, was honored by Restaurants & Institutions Magazine (R&I) with the 2008 Silver Award for Consumers' Choice in Chains in the pizza segment, and was named 2007 Pizza Today Chain of the Year.
Source: Papa John's International, Inc.