Steve Ritchie became a member of the Papa John’s Pizza franchise over two decades ago in 1996 when he worked in customer service at the restaurant. Ten years later, he decided that he wanted to become a franchise owner with the brand, then he went on to lead its international division between the years of 2014 and 2017. At the beginning of the following year, he was offered the position of Chief Executive Officer of the company, due to his longevity and vast experience with how the pizza chain operates.
As CEO of Papa John’s, Steve Ritchie is responsible for the marketing and development of the restaurant brand on a global scale. Along with his executive team, he works to maintain the transparency of the franchise, which includes accepting accountability when things go wrong, and keeping open communication with the customers. The group is also dedicated to improving its diversity practices, and having important conversations with its employees and franchise owners.
Through the Papa John’s Foundation, Steve Ritchie makes charitable donations to organizations like Bennett’s College. In March of 2019, he and the other managerial employees of the restaurant made a visit to the college to hold a press conference on the topic of what it takes to be an effective entrepreneur. A financial contribution had been made to the women’s college by the company’s foundation in the amount of $500,000 a few months before their visit.
Headquartered in the city of Louisville in Kentucky, Papa John’s has been around since October of 1984, and it is the third largest pizza delivery company in the world. It has been rated number one in customer satisfaction for a number of years in the U.S., with over 4,000 of its 5,199 restaurants in operation domestically in all 50 states. In 2002, it became the first fast food restaurant of its kind to offer its customers an online ordering option. Over the years, the pizza chain’s success and popularity has attracted several investors, some of them well-known, such as NBA star Shaquille O’Neal, who is now a member of Papa John’s Board of Directors.
Steve Ritchie has had an entrepreneurial spirit ever since he was a senior in high school, which is why he purchased his first pizza franchise at the age of 18 for a total of $16,000. His long-time high interest in the restaurant business is what most likely made him one of the best choices to lead Papa John’s. He has said that pizza is his life, and instead of choosing to attend college, he joked that he feels like he graduated from Papa John’s University. Since accepting his new role at the company, Steve Ritchie has expressed how humble he feels to have been given the opportunity to represent the brand that has been a part of his career for over 20 years.
The easy-going businessman grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, where he attended and graduated from Seneca High School. He currently lives in Hikes Point with his wife Melissa and their two daughters. He enjoys spending time at the beach with his family, and watching sports and reality TV singing competitions. For his philanthropic duties, he volunteers a portion of his time each month to organizations that Papa John’s contributes financial support to, and he has a passion for overseeing the global marketing of the brand, and promoting its awareness. He has been devoted to the pizza chain’s brand from the start of his career as an hourly worker with the company, and he has said that he gives back to his community, because he likes bringing joy to those who are less fortunate.