An analysis of John Schnatter Founder and CEO of Papa Johns Intl.

On the 25th of February 2012 we held our first junto to discuss the attributes of Inspirational Entrepreneurs. We established guidelines for the types of individual s that we wanted to analyze. As a group we decided to dissect the lives of successful business people who achieved extraordinary success by starting a business and from the ground and taking it to the top. At the end of our junto we will have indentified common traits that these individuals share. These shared traits will help us mold our own leadership abilities, business success, and exploit these qualities in others.

The first person that we analyzed was John Schnatter, President, Founder and CEO of Papa John’s International. The highlights come from the John Schnatter presentation.


His father established and ran a hotdog stand at University of Louisville to put himself through college and graduated the top of his class in their school of law and accounting.
His Father had 12 businesses that failed. His grandfather had 3 which succeeded.
Grandfather made him work at 8 years old after baseball practice
Grass cutting company at age10, age 12 gutter painting company, age 16 solar heating company
At the age of 16 as a dishwasher at Rocky Sub Pub he wanted to move upfront to make pizza. When he got his chance he fell in love with pizza
John had the Papa John’s logo design in high school
Father’s business failures led to divorce in 1984. Schnattner fears failure – Quote “I wake up scared every morning.”
College Years

Went to college and finished in 3 years with a BA in business from Ball State in Indiana.
After college he sold his 1971 Camaro Z28 for $2800 to help finance his father failing business.
Saved his fathers tavern from bankruptcy by making pizza in back broom closet.
Searched for, found and repurchased his old Camaro in 2009 for $250,000
Career Achievements

Known for being a perfectionist, his business model is perfect pizza with the best ingredients
In 1994 five top executives resigned in part because of his abrasive management style.
Core Values-FAS-PAC
Focus Accountability Superiority– People Attitude Constant improvement
Quote “Success is failure with the dirt knocked off”
Naming rights to Louisville’s Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium
Net worth estimated at $240 million.
Over 3400 restaurants around the world.

Inducted into Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame
Named one of the Ten Outstanding Young Americans in 2000
Named 1998 National Ernst & Young Retail/Consumer Entrepreneur of The Year
Involved with Boy Scouts of America National Junior Achievement


The top traits that lead to John Schnatter’s success were:

Competitiveness (Wants to be #1 at everything from Pizza to Monopoly)
Action-Oriented/Driven (Started several businesses all with him as the worker/employee)
Demand High Standards/Perfectionist/ Obsessive (Some people can’t work for him)
Goal Setter/Constantly seeking improvement (Strives to be the best at all things)
Fears Failure—(Understands from his father’s experience that you can lose it all)
Other traits that John Schnatter processes are:

Willingness to work hard
Flexibility (He tried different things until he found his passion and core competence)
Balanced (donates to charities, takes time to balance family, evolved with politics)
Visionary (wants to be the #1 pizza company in the world overtaking Dominoes and Pizza Hut)
Intelligent (Graduated early from college, straight A’s in school)
Confidence (Had to Papa Johns dream in high school and the logo)
Arrogant (Refuses to retire as CEO because he believes no one can run the company better, Is in most commercials, and his picture is on the pizza box)
Passionate (Loves everything about pizza and making it perfect)
Risk Taker (Took 11 years to make an international profit)