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John Schnatter

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John Schnatter
Born John H. Schnatter
(1961-11-23) November 23, 1961 (age 55)
Jeffersonville, Indiana, U.S.
Residence Anchorage, Kentucky, U.S.[1]
Nationality American
Other names Papa John
Alma mater Ball State University[2]
Occupation Entrepreneur, founder, CEO, and spokesman of Papa John's International, Inc.
Years active 1984–present
Net worth Increase US$1 billion[3]
Spouse(s) Annette (m. 1987)
Children 3

John H. Schnatter (born November 23, 1961) is an American entrepreneur, CEO and spokesman of Papa John's International, Inc, the company he founded in October 1984.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Schnatter was born in Jeffersonville, Indiana, on November 23, 1961, and graduated from Jeffersonville High School in 1980, then earned a business degree from Ball State University in 1983.[citation needed]

In the 1980s, John Schnatter's father co-owned Mick's Lounge, a tavern in Jeffersonville.[citation needed]


The Papa John's pizza business was founded in 1983 when "Papa" John Schnatter knocked out a broom closet in the back of his father's tavern in Jeffersonville, Indiana.[5] Schnatter sold his 1971 Z28 Camaro to purchase $1,600 worth of used pizza equipment and began selling pizzas to the tavern's customers out of the converted closet.[6][7][8] His pizzas proved so popular that one year later he was able to move into an adjoining space. Today, the company is the third largest take-out and pizza delivery restaurant chain in the world[9][10] with headquarters in Jeffersontown, Kentucky, near Louisville.[11][12][13]

The Camaro[edit]

In 1983, Schnatter sold his 1971 Chevrolet Camaro to help his father's struggling business. He used the leftover funds to start Papa John's. Decades later, he offered a reward of $250,000 for finding the car, and on August 26, 2009, Schnatter bought the Camaro back for $250,000 from the family that he sold the car to in 1983.[14][15] In celebration, Papa John's offered a free pizza to anyone who owned a Camaro.[16] Schnatter's original Camaro has been on display in the company's headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky. The company owns several replicas that are used on tours and for public and TV appearances.[17][unreliable source?] On August 15, 2015, Schnatter's original Camaro was stolen along with two other classic cars in Detroit, where they were set to appear in the city's annual Woodward Dream Cruise.[18] The Camaro was recovered two days later on the city's west side with minimal damage.[19]

Personal life[edit]

Schnatter has been married to his wife, Annette, since 1987. The couple has three children. The Schnatter family resides in Anchorage, Kentucky.[20] Schnatter identifies as an Evangelical Christian and is a member of the Southeast Christian Church.[21]

Schnatter made a million-dollar contribution to the Louisville Zoo's Glacier Run expansion.[22] His Calistoga Bakery sponsors a bike team and donated money to build bike trails.


In 2012, Papa John's and Schnatter received media attention after he made comments about the Affordable Care Act to a class on entrepreneurship.[23]

Schnatter had hosted a fundraiser at his home for Republican Party candidate Mitt Romney in May 2012.[24]

Awards and honors[edit]


  1. ^ "WLKY-TV airs one-on-one interview with John Schnatter". 
  2. ^ "How Do You Make $260 Million from Pizza? Keep Your Eyes on the Pies". 
  3. ^ "New Billionaire: How Papa John's CEO John Schnatter Turned Pizza Into Ten-Figure Fortune". 
  4. ^ "The story of Papa John's". Retrieved July 30, 2010. 
  5. ^ "About Us". Papa John's. Retrieved January 17, 2015. 
  6. ^ "The Papa John's Story". Papa John's (GB) Ltd. Retrieved August 2, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Profile: John Schnatter". Forbes. Retrieved April 12, 2013. 
  8. ^ "About Papa Johns". Papa John's International. Retrieved April 12, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Papa John's offering free pizza to customers who place online order during Super Bowl weekend". WDRB. January 28, 2015. Retrieved March 9, 2015. 
  10. ^ Green, Kim (January 15, 2015). "Sunday With Papa John's Founder John Schnatter". Parade. Retrieved March 9, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Jeffersontown to dedicate new bike and walking path Saturday". The Courier-Journal. November 7, 2007. p. C7. Retrieved December 6, 2012. Papa John's office is in Jeffersontown 
  12. ^ "Papa's Specialty Pizza Challenge". Papa John's Pizza. Retrieved on December 6, 2012. "Papa John's International Inc., 2002 Papa John's Blvd, Louisville, KY 40299". Archived October 23, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ 2010 "Census – Census Block Map (Index): Jeffersontown city, KY 1". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on December 7, 2012.
  14. ^ "Papa John's boss finds Camaro, gives free pizza". NBC News. Associated Press. August 25, 2009. Retrieved August 17, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Found: Papa John's Long-Lost Camaro! Kentucky Man Receives $250,000 Finder's Fee". Papa John's. August 25, 2009. Retrieved January 17, 2015. 
  16. ^ Associated, The (September 2, 2009). "Papa John's founder pays 250Kg for Camaro". Archived from the original on July 30, 2010. Retrieved July 30, 2010. 
  17. ^ Whyte, Carol (August 26, 2009). "Founder of Papa John's Reunited with Camaro Sold in 1983". Yahoo Voices. Archived from the original on October 3, 2013. Retrieved August 17, 2015. 
  18. ^ Heiser, Tom (August 17, 2015). "John Schnatter's Camaro stolen in Detroit". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved August 17, 2015. 
  19. ^ Greenwood, Tom; Chambers, Jennifer (August 17, 2015). "Stolen Papa John's Camaro found on Detroit's west side". The Detroit News. Retrieved August 22, 2015. 
  20. ^ Wolfson, Andrew (January 14, 2013). "'Papa John' makes no apology for wealth, Obamacare remarks". USA Today. Retrieved February 11, 2013.
  21. ^ Cesca, Bob (August 6, 2012). "Chick-Fil-A Isn't the Only Evil Fast Food Chain". The Daily Banter. Retrieved October 11, 2015. 
  22. ^ "Back to dough after losing bread: Papa John Schnatter shutters Calistoga Artisan Sandwich project after three and a half years". Insider Louisville. Retrieved December 5, 2012. 
  23. ^ Resnikoff, Ned (November 20, 2012). "Denny's, Papa John's walk back criticism of Obamacare". Retrieved February 4, 2014. 
  24. ^ Gerth, Joseph (April 17, 2012). "Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney to visit Louisville Thursday for fundraiser". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved February 4, 2014. 
  25. ^ "Conquer Cancer website". May 28, 2009. Retrieved July 30, 2010. 

External links[edit]