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Papa John’s franchisees hire specialist lawyer as pizza chain’s strugg

Papa John’s franchisees hire specialist lawyer as pizza chain’s struggles continue

The company’s franchise association board hired industry specialist attorney Robert Zarco

Following another disappointing quarter in which same-store sales slid 9.8 percent, Papa John’s International Inc.’s franchisees are taking action. The Papa John’s Franchise Association, whose members operate more than 1,200 locations nationwide, have hired industry specialist attorney Robert Zarco with the law firm, Zarco, Einhorn, Salkowski & Brito. Zarco will represent the Papa John’s franchisees as they continue difficult discussions with their struggling parent company.

Papa John’s has been in a downward spiral following a year of poor public sentiment directly related to the racially tinged controversies of the company’s ex-CEO John Schnatter.

“His comments about the NFL during the earnings call, and his use of a racial slur in the media training session with the company’s marketing firm have significantly harmed the brand and our membership’s store sales,” Vaughn Frey, chairman of the Papa John’s Franchise Association board, said in a statement. “The brand image has been severely tarnished.”

Papa John’s said that it remains committed to helping franchisees through these difficult times.

“We have been and continue to be committed to our franchisees’ long-term financial health and will continue to work constructively with them in our efforts to move the company forward,” Papa John’s said in an emailed statement.

In an earnings call earlier this week, Papa John’s said that in August, the company announced a financial assistance program in North America, and may continue these programs into the following fiscal year.

Attorney Robert Zarco has previously represented and won high-profile cases for restaurant franchisees. In May 2018, El Pollo Loco was ordered to pay $9 million in damages to two franchisees for “breach of good faith” when they secretly opened a nearby corporate-owned location of El Pollo Loco.

Robert Zarco did not return Nation’s Restaurant News’ request for comment and more information on the case.

Contact Joanna Fantozzi at [email protected] 

Follow her on Twitter: @JoannaFantozzi

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