Steve Ritchie Looks Forward to Leading Papa John to New Level of Growth as CEO

When Steve Ritchie was first came to Papa John’s in 1996 he most probably was not presuming to be promoted to CEO very soon, if he was expecting to be CEO at all, but events do happen and as Steve Ritchie told those who were in the organization and who were present said that all things are possible for the person who would just be willing to put their first foot forward each day and be ready to help those around them.

Putting Best Foot Forward

So after many years of putting his best foot forward, that is precisely what happened to Steve Ritchie on January 1, 2018, and was promoted to CEO. But it all began with Steve Ritchie walking into a Pap John’ restaurant and filling out his application that day. Later he was interviewed and landed his first job at Papa John’ which was an hourly job as a customer service representative. If anyone is familiar with fast-food pizza delivery and how vital a customer service representative is, they know that a customer service representative is the smiling presence of the company and the first person the customer will see on walking into the door to make an order.

Be the Best you can Be

A customer service representative needs to be a person who can work well with different kinds of people and not lose their cool when a problematic customer comes thru; on the other hand, they are supposed to remain calm and collected thru all transactions. Steve Ritchie continued a customer service representative from (1996-2006). Considering a full-time hourly person would work a 40 hour week and possibly 51 weeks a year, with a week paid vacation that would have given Steve Ritchie about 20K hours of works as a customer service representative.

Hiring From Within Policy

That is a lot of face time with customers. However, Steve Ritchie was excited about the policy of Papa John’ to hire 98% of their managers from three groups of people within the Papa John organization: pizza-delivery drivers, hourly wage earners, and team leaders.


In 2006 Steve Ritchie launched a new capacity of responsibility at Papa John’ and that was to become the owner of his franchise, which allowed him to have the responsibility of all the operations in his organization. Papa John’ would have taken care of the first round of training for staff and managers, but the following years would have been the responsibility of Steve Ritchie. He stayed at that franchising of his restaurant form (2006-2014). Those who had worked with Ritchie commented that he was always an excellent worker and keen on finding different opportunities that he could fit into his career. During this time of running his franchise, he was also filling other operations responsibilities throughout the company.

COO, President, then CEO

In 2014 he was promoted to Chief Operations Officer, a job h only stayed in one year, but it was the first time Steve Ritchie was allowed to work day to day with CEO and executive staff. The following year (2015), he was promoted to the office of President (2015-2018). On January 1, 2018, Steve Ritchie was promoted to Chief Executive Officer of the entire Papa John’s International Organization. He told a reporter that day he was “humbled” to be given the role of CEO, and he looked forward to working with team-leaders to provide the same excellent service to customers as well as lead Papa John to a new level of growth.


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