Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Capitalism's Hero of the Day --- John Schnatter

During our dinner conversation, I made the observation to my wife that Papa John's pizza is the perfect example of capitalism (during dinner, I incorrectly thought it was Papa Murphy's). Or, to be more specific, the fact that :

Papa John's founder John Schnatter has found his beloved 1971 Z28 Camaro he sold more than 25 years ago to help his dad’s tavern stay afloat and ultimately launch Papa John’s. Schnatter initially offered a $25,000 "finder’s fee" to the person who could produce the title to his long-lost Camaro, and later offered $250,000 to whomever could produce the title and transfer the car. The search was chronicled online at www.papasroadtrip.com.


"The Camaro represents what I gave up to start Papa John’s," Schnatter said. "Words cannot capture the emotions I am feeling in getting back that part of my history. I didn’t have much back then, but for my business dreams to come true, I had to part with the one true asset I had to my name, and even then, there were no promises of success.

"The foundation of Papa John’s was built on my decision to sell the Camaro, and while it may not appear to be a huge sacrifice to some, it represents my roots in this business."

Here is a guy who over 25 years ago sold his prized possession for less than $3000 to help pull his father's tavern out of bankruptcy. It was in this tavern that John would start his pizza business, which, through the miracle of free market capitalism, would grow to become the world's third largest pizza company.

It is because of capitalism that Papa Johns grew from one guy selling pizzas out of the back of his dad's bar to a company with 3000 restaurants and about 17000 employees. It was capitalism that made it possible for John to pay an astounding quarter-million dollars to regain ownership of his original 1971 Camaro.

That doesn't happen without the hard work of one man in the fertile fields of capitalism.

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