• John Schnatter founded Papa John's in 1985
  • He has a net worth of $1.1 billion
  • He stepped down as CEO following various controversies

John Schnatter has a net worth of $1.1 billion. He built his fortune by founding Papa John’s in 1985. Here’s his story of success.

Schnatter was the man behind the world famous Papa John’s pizza chain store. It now has over 5,000 branches scattered in 45 countries. Unknown to many, the success did not happen overnight. Schnatter started humbly and developed his first pies in a renovated broom closet in Jeffersonville, Indiana, per Forbes.

The American entrepreneur was once the largest stakeholder in the company. However, after selling shares worth around $107.5 million, he is only left with 2.9 million shares or equivalent to 9 percent of the company, a report from FOX Business revealed.

Papa John Schnatter
Two Papa John’s Pizza employees in Sanford, Fla., were fired after an irate customer posted a racist voicemail the delivery man accidentally left after “butt-dialing” the customer. Reuters

The founder of the pizza company resigned in 2018 after it was revealed he used racial slur in a phone call. He also was embroiled in a controversy in 2017 after criticizing the NFL for its treatment of the national anthem protests. Schnatter stepped down from his position as Papa John’s’ CEO but remained as its chairman of the board.

On the personal side, he owns several properties. His mansion in Jefferson Country was acquired for $12 million. Included in its amenities are a pool, a guest house and a pond, among others. He and his former wife Annette Cox also own a $23 million condo in Utah and a $6 million condo in Naples, Florida. The 59-year-old also reportedly owns a private helicopter, aside from several Camaros.

Papa John’s has formed partnerships, not only with the NFL, but with other sports personalities as well. It has tapped Peyton Manning and J.J. Watts as endorsers. Papa John’s regularly sponsors the Super Bowl. NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal also appeared in some of the pizza store’s advertisements and even owns a franchise.

O’Neal announced a new promo by Papa John’s to celebrate its introduction of Epic Stuffed Crust Pizza during the winter sports season, according to QSR Magazine. Fans only have to send videos of themselves performing epic dunk, tricks or sports highlights. The winner gets to take home Papa John’s Epic Stuffed Chair which features a pizza table, a smartphone holder and a sauce cup dispenser. It is also motor-powered to provide more comfort to its users.

While Schnatter’s exit from the company he founded and built from scratch was far from being graceful, one could not look past his hard work and achievements to bring where Papa John’s is today.