Papa John’s Pizza Debacle
Posted by LOTGK on May 9, 2008
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Papa John’s Pizza, a national pizza chain joint, coming off a PR nightmare, (A local Papa John’s outlet printed up and handed out T-shirts with crybaby 23 on them in an attempt to taunt LaBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers) has sunk even further into the abyss.
With threats of lawsuits by the NBA and the Cavaliers, papa John’s announced that they are selling their large one topping pizza’s for 23 cents all day today. This was their way to apologize to the fans offended by the shirts. Plus all proceeds are being donated to LaBron James charity.
So what happens? Thousands of people call papa John’s for lunch take out in the North East. Thousands of pizza’s are being made. So far, perhaps the pain was being eased. Until, Papa John’s couldn’t keep up with the influx of orders. Even though the Public Relations director of papa John’s said they would be able to supply a pizza to everyone that called.
Papa John’s was wrong. By noon time in Youngstown, Ohio, Papa John’s took their phone of the hook. The line out the door bent around the block with a waiting period of at least an hour. Some reports said a four hour wait at other local chains.
Papa John’s ran out of dough, left customers hanging as they waited for hours in line, and then turned away empty handed.
Papa John’s should have realized that their pizza shops did not have the capability to produce the volume needed. They made a critical public relations error. It reminds me of the WKRP in Cincinnati public relations nightmare for Thanksgiving. (WKRP was a 1970’s – 80’s TV sitcom) They decided to give out hundreds of turkeys to the people of Cincinnati. To make a dramatic impact, they loaded up the “Live” turkeys in a chopper and dropped them on the city streets.
A good gesture indeed, but they didn’t think it through. Turkeys, as everyone knows, can’t fly and fell out of the chopper and hit the pavement like wet bags of cement.
Exactly what happened to Papa John’s pizza 23 cent give away promotion yesterday.
LURKING ON THE GRASSY KNOLL