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Shaq Helps Papa John’s Get Black On Track By Investing In Nine Atlanta-Area Restaurants

By DeAnna Taylor

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When news that former CEO, John Schnatter, used a racial slur during a meeting and criticized NFL players for kneeling in protest, Papa John’s Pizza saw a major hit in their business.

Since then, Schnatter has resigned and the company has been working to rebrand its image. One of the ways they are doing that is by bringing in more diversity. This past March, NBA legend, Shaquille O’Neal was appointed to the company’s board of directors.

In addition to bringing in Shaq, the company also hired the marketing agency of high-profile black executive, Bozoma Saint John, to revive the tainted image.

Most recently Shaq stepped up and used his money to invest in nine Papa John’s locations across the Atlanta area.

“I am thrilled to be taking my investment in Papa John’s to the next level,” O’Neal said via press release. “My investment shows my commitment to the company and was a natural fit. I’ve been a fan of Papa John’s pizza since my days playing basketball at LSU. I could not be prouder of what we have in store for Atlanta, as we strive to deliver the city a great pizza experience.”

Related: JayZ Invests In Black-Owned Vegan Cookie Company


The basketball star even went as far as renovating one of the locations to include memorabilia and his own personal touches.

This is not the first restaurant investment for Shaq. He also has investments in other food franchises such as Krispy Kreme and Big Chicken based in Las Vegas.

“Papa John’s franchisees are entrepreneurs who have a shared passion for pizza and the communities they serve. Shaquille is no exception,” Steve Ritchie, CEO of Papa John’s, said. 

The Atlanta locations are as follows: 990 State St. NW, Atlanta;  561 Forest Pkwy., Forest Park; 5658 -A Riverdale Rd., College Park; 745 HWY 138 Riverdale; 2075 Mt Zion Rd., Morrow; 5582 N. Henry Blvd., Stockbridge; and 205 Racetrack Rd. in McDonough.

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DeAnna Taylor

DeAnna Taylor is a criminal defense Attorney turned travel writer. The Charlotte native recently completed one year abroad working as an English teacher in South Korea. Her hobbies include fitness, traveling to new countries, and trying new foods.

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