Papa John's International Inc. (NASDAQ:PZZA) Q4 2017 Earnings Conference Call Transcript

Feb 27, 2018 • 05:00 pm ET

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Papa John's International Inc. (NASDAQ:PZZA) Q4 2017 Earnings Conference Call Transcript

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Presentation
Operator
Operator

Good day, ladies and gentlemen. And welcome to the Papa John's Fourth Quarter 2017 Conference Call and Webcast. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later, we will conduct a question-and-answer session and instructions will follow at that time. (Operator Instructions) As a reminder, this conference is being recorded.

I would now like to introduce your host for today's conference, Steve Coke, VP of IR and Strategy. You may begin.

Executive
Steven R. Coke

Thank you, Gigi. Good afternoon. Joining me on the call today, our CEO, Steve Ritchie; our CFO, Lance Tucker, and other members of our senior management team. Steve and Lance will have comments about our business, and provide a financial update, after which the management team will be available for Q&A.

(Forward-Looking Cautionary Statements)

Please refer to our earnings release in the Investor Relations section of our website for a reconciliation of non-GAAP financial measures discussed on this call. Finally, we ask any media to be in a listen-only mode since this is primarily an investor call.

Now, I'd like to turn the call over to Steve Ritchie for his comments. Steve?

Executive
Steve M. Ritchie

Thank you, Steve, and good afternoon, everyone. While this is my first call as CEO of Papa John's, as many of you may know, I've been a part of Papa John's team for nearly 22 years. I started my career on the front lines as a $6 per hour customer service representative, answering phones and making pizzas. I'm a franchise owner and operator. I have managed stores, operations and other franchisees. In these roles, I have engaged directly with our customers and seen firsthand the power of our brand and our people. While I'm not pleased with the company's most recent performance, I am confident that our brand and our people provide the foundation we need to reignite customer enthusiasm for Papa John's, and drive improve levels of profitable growth and value creation.

Over the past several months, I and other members of the leadership team including Mike Nettles, our Chief Information and Digital Officer and Brandon Rhoten, our new CMO have taken a hard look at the business by diving deep into data provided from recent consumer research initiatives and focus groups conducted with the assistance of outside consultants. We have also gained visibility to valuable consumer marketing insights from our new advertising and public relations agencies.

Finally, we have spent time recently visiting with over 80% of our franchisees and operators across the country to share and receive feedback about operations and evolving consumer trends. As a result of these steps, which are ongoing, we have identified specific opportunities to improve our brand proposition, how we connect with customers, and how we operate at the unit level. These improvements are in the five key areas.

First, refocus consumers on the real point of differentiations for the Papa John's brand quality, Better Ingredients and Better Pizza have always been core to our brand and have separated us from the pack. However, over the last few