In the latest attempt to try to repair the franchise’s broken image, Papa John’s has turned to former NBA all-star, Shaquille O’neal. Papa John’s took a major hit when leaked recordings of founder and former CEO John Schattner making racist remarks surfaced. Papa John’s has made multiple moves in an attempt to save the struggling pizza chain after it’s stock price took a major blow. Including removing the founder’s face from it’s pizza boxes and other marketing materials and a shitload of commercials attempting to show that the company employed people of every race. Neither really seemed to be helping the company in a major way, but bringing Shaq into the company may be a different story.
CNBC reported, Big Shaq will become the board’s first African-American director. Shaq also grabbed an investment in 9 Papa John’s franchises in the Atlanta area. Shaq also pulled an Oprah when he signed a deal to become the company’s brand ambassador. Shaq will receive $8.25 million for that part of the deal, but just like Oprah, Shaq got half of the $8 milli in company stocks. It’s a gamble, but if something like this pays off, it can pay off BIG. If you don’t believe me ask Oprah Winfrey. She came up like a fat-cat when she took half of her endorsement money from Weight Watchers in company stock. When the stock price made a huge jump, so did Ms. Oprah’s pockets. She cashed out some of that stock and walked away with double digit millions. Much more than she would’ve received had she taken all cash at the time she signed the endorsement deal. If this happens, it will probably be years before the stock price takes such a huge climb, but as long as the company doesn’t go out of business, those stock options are like having money in the bank. As I write this, Papa John’s stock price currently sits at $48.79, up about 4% from this time yesterday. Papa John’s was looking for a way to show some diversity within the company. It cost them some money to get Big Shaq on the team, but I believe Shaq will be well worth the price of admission. People love Shaq. The little jump in the stock price after the company announced the news that they were bringing Shaq onboard showed that. Papa John’s hasn’t even started rolling out the inevitable pizza commercials with Shaq either. Around the time that happens, is when I believe Papa John’s stock will see a jump that will take them above $55/share. That, and come up with some new way of making their pizza or something. Because from looking at my personal Twitter feed, about 90% of people who’ve tried Papa John’s says the pizza is trash. I don’t know, I’ve never had Papa John’s. Have you? Is it trash or is Twitter just overreacting again?