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Papa John's pizza leaves bad taste in Papa John's mouth

Papa John's founder John Schnatter doesn't think the restaurant chain's pies are as good as they used to be, and he's got the caloric intake to prove it.

"I've probably had over 40 pizzas — 40 — in the last 30 days," he told WDRB-TV, a Fox affiliate in Louisville, Kentucky. "They don't make the pizza the way I used to, we used to, make it. It just doesn't taste the same."

Schnatter, who started Papa John's in the mid-1980s, said he's so down on the quality of its pizzas that he has sold a lot of his stock, adding that he is "negative and pessimistic about the company."

Papa John's shares have risen nearly 8% over the last 12 months.

The diatribe comes more than a year after Schnatter resigned as chairman of the company after using the N-word during a conference call on diversity training in May of 2018. The previous year, Schnatter stepped down as CEO after drawing controversy by criticizing National Football League players for kneeling during the national anthem.

"They thought they could run the business better without me," he said in the interview.

Papa John's International Rings the NASDAQ Opening Bell
Papa John's founder and then-CEO John Schnatter rings the opening bell at the Nasdaq stock exchange on January 31, 2014, in New York City. Rob Kim / Getty

As for Rob Lynch, appointed CEO of Papa John's earlier this year, Schnatter dismissed the former Arby's president, saying he lacked experience working with pizza and "doesn't really know quality." Lynch also "doesn't have a passion for people," Schnatter said.

Papa John's did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

It's not the first time the former executive has lashed out. He previously claimed that his forced exit from Papa John's was orchestrated by the company's leadership.

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