Papa John's responds to criticism of 'better ingredients' slogan

Aug. 15, 2013

Papa John's took to Facebook earlier this week to rail against the "inaccuracy" of an article that ran questioning the chain's "better ingredients."

The post was presumably in response to a story that ran in U.S. News and World Report that said, "Those "better ingredients": Good luck finding out what they are. Unlike the packaged products you buy at the supermarket, restaurant food isn't required to list ingredients. Many fast food chains, like McDonald's, Taco Bell and Subway, do voluntarily provide them, in part for indemnity against lawsuits and in part because they realize some of their customers actually want to know what they're eating ... But not Papa John's. They've decided it's better to keep their ingredients a secret."

The author claimed she called the company and was prompted to leave a message with a specific employee. The author also claimed she called the public relations department, and left emails and voicemails — all of which went unanswered.

The author then opined, "By not disclosing what's in its food, Papa John's is revealing that it doesn't think too much of its customers. It is either asking customers for blind trust or assuming people are too stupid and complacent to ask questions. When we do ask questions, they refuse to answer."

Papa John's wasn't the only chain criticized in the piece. Olive Garden, Applebee's, Cheesecake Factory, Chili's and TGIFs were also cited for not providing ingredient information.

Conversely, Chipotle was commented for "doing a great job with this sort of transparency."

The article has generated nearly 5,000 comments since Wednesday.

Despite the scathing criticism of Papa John's — and it's "Better Ingredients. Better Pizza." slogan — the company immediately responded, claiming its dough is "fresh, never frozen," its meats are "void of fillers" and its vegetables are "fresh and of the highest quality possible."

Further, Papa John's directed its customers to its ingredient information and its nutritional information, both available online.

Papa John's finally thanked its fans for bringing the story to its attention, writing: "The reporter who wrote the story unfortunately received misinformation — and we apologize for not being available when she reached out to us. Thanks to all for bringing this to our attention so that we have the opportunity to correct an inaccurate article."

Many employees chimed in on the Facebook post, reiterating that the chain's dough is not frozen, but rather shipped in cooler trucks to avoid spoilage.

Read more about branding efforts.

Topics: Food & Beverage , Marketing / Branding / Promotion , Online / Mobile / Social , Papa John's

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