Papa John's has signed on former NFL running back Jerome "The Bus" Bettis as its newest franchisee. Bettis, in partnership with Bajco Group, now owns three restaurants in Pittsburgh.

"Having Jerome as a franchisee is huge for the Papa John's brand and for our customers in Pittsburgh. After getting to know him over the years I have no doubt that he will be able to replicate his success on the field at the restaurants," said John Schnatter, Papa John's founder, chairman and CEO.

Bettis purchased his Papa John's restaurants through a partnership with Bajco Group, which currently owns 12 restaurants in the Pittsburgh area. The partnership plans to open additional restaurants in the Pittsburgh area throughout the next couple of years.

"We are thrilled to partner with Jerome to purchase these restaurants," said Nadeem Bajwa, CEO of Bajco Group. "Jerome is a fierce competitor with high integrity, and I'm proud to be his business partner. He is an iconic figure in Pittsburgh and I have no doubt these restaurants will do very well."

Bettis' involvement with Papa John's dates to 2011, when he was featured in Papa John's Super Bowl XLVI Coin Toss commercial with Schnatter and Denver Broncos quarterback and fellow Papa John's franchisee, Peyton Manning.

"I've been a fan of Papa John's for a long time and am excited to be a part of the team," said Bettis. "I've always been a part of winning organizations and Papa John's is no exception. I'm particularly impressed with the brand's focus on quality and drive to be the best. I'm also impressed with John's passion to continue growing the brand around the world."

To celebrate this new partnership, all Pittsburgh-area Papa John's restaurants will offer 36 percent off all menu prices when customers order online using promo code PJBUS36. This offer is good through June 23, and will also be honored at Papa John's restaurants in the Johnstown, Pa. area, Youngstown, Ohio, and in South Bend, Ind.

Bettis, who won a Super Bowl with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2006, ranks sixth on the NFL's all-time rushing list with 13,662 yards and is one of six players in NFL history to rush for 13,000 yards.

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