National Papa John’s Franchisee Association Hires Prominent Franchisee Attorney, Robert Zarco, Esq.

COLUMBIA, S.C.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Papa John’s Franchise Association (PJFA) today announced it has
engaged internationally-recognized franchisee attorney, Robert Zarco,
founding partner at the Miami litigation firm of Zarco, Einhorn,
Salkowski and Brito. The goal of the engagement is to arrest the ongoing
decline in sales that began following Papa John’s founder, John
Schnatter’s criticism of the NFL over the handling of the players’
protest of the perceived discrimination against African Americans by
kneeling during the national anthem.

“Having exhausted all other options, the association feels it has been
left with no choice but to conduct an investigation and rectify the root
causes behind the steady decline in its member’s store sales,” said
Vaughn Frey, Papa John’s Franchise Association Board Chairman.

In May, Schnatter’s use of an abhorrent racial slur during a media
training session with the company’s marketing firm became public,
subsequently revealing a pervasive, toxic culture at Papa John’s that
includes sexual harassment claims, confidential settlements and a
bitter, public feud between Schnatter and the brand to regain control of
the company. The actions of the founder have resulted in the termination
of valuable sponsorship agreements between Papa John’s and several
sporting organizations and a negative public presence that has harmed
franchisees’ businesses.

“The small businesses of the PJFA’s members and the lives of the owners
and employees of those businesses are at stake here,” said Zarco. “The
damage to the brand image and the franchisees’ businesses has persisted
and continues to persist. The Papa John’s system continues to struggle
as Mr. Schnatter remains in the press. I will not rest until I get to
the bottom of this controversy so I can assist the PJFA in conveying the
concerns of its members to Papa John’s leadership and work with Papa
John’s and Mr. Schnatter to reach a resolution in whatever forum
necessary to serve the interests of the PJFA and its members.”

Meanwhile, the PJFA believes that its members have been left to fend for
themselves in the midst of all of this turmoil.

“Our members have sustained tremendous financial losses and a decrease
in sales at the store level after Mr. Schnatter’s controversial
comments,” said Frey. “As the Founder of the Company and its CEO, Mr.
Schnatter understood the significant investment that the Company made in
promoting the brand through the NFL and the sponsorship deals with
several prominent sports organizations. 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.”

Mr. Frey continued, “The brand image has been severely tarnished by the
continuing negative press coverage surrounding Mr. Schnatter and his
dispute with the Company. He has put out his version of the truth on his
website and has given several interviews on this issue which has kept
the negative press coverage going. We are trying to move on from the
controversy, but it is hard to do that when there is a new story being
put out every other day about new developments relating to Mr. Schnatter
and Papa John’s.”

Mr. Zarco has initiated an investigation into these matters to determine
what action should be taken for the franchise owners to recover their
losses and protect their investments from further damage.

About the Papa John’s Franchise Association

The Papa John’s Franchise Association is comprised of franchise owners
in the Papa John’s system. Its Board of Directors consists of 10
franchise owners with a combined ownership experience of more than 220
years. The PJFA’s members own more than 1200 Papa John’s stores. The
association was formed in 2005, and its mission is to provide a pathway
for franchise owners to offer their input on Papa John’s initiatives or
to voice any concerns regarding the business that can bring about change
that benefits both the franchise owners and Papa John’s. The association
wants a true partnership with Papa John’s so that it could play a role
in major decisions that affect franchise owners.

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