Today, the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA) announced that Papa Johns CEO Rob Lynch has been selected as the winner of the prestigious IFMA Silver Plate in the category of Chain – Limited Service. As part of the 69th class of IFMA Silver Plate Award winners, Rob joins an illustrious group of leaders across nine foodservice categories who are building dynamic organizations and contributing to the success and growth of the food industry as a whole.
Rob was chosen from among a slate of industry nominees by a distinguished jury of trade press editors and previous award winners, based on his achievements since joining Papa Johns as CEO in 2019, including:
- Accelerating product innovation: Six months after Rob took the helm at Papa Johns, the Papadia – our unique folded sandwich made with our signature fresh, never-frozen dough – was introduced. Later that summer, the Shaq-a-Roni, Papa Johns “pizza with purpose” developed in partnership with board member and franchisee Shaquille O’Neal, was launched. The Shaq-a-Roni returned in 2021 and 2022 and across those three years has raised more than $8.8 million for The Papa John’s Foundation for Building Community, which supports communities as they work together for equality, fairness, respect, and opportunity for all, as well as organizations working to provide hunger relief, reduce food waste and build the leaders of tomorrow. Last August, Papa Johns broke into a new menu category by introducing its first crustless core menu item – the Papa Bowl, providing customers completely new ways of enjoying the premium ingredients that have made the brand so well-loved.
- Fostering a culture of leaders who believe in diversity, inclusivity and winning: In addition to taking steps to prioritize the health and safety of its employees and customers at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Papa Johns also significantly expanded health, wellness, paid time-off and college tuition benefits, which it subsequently made permanent, and recognized the tremendous efforts of its front-line team members in its corporate restaurants and supply chain with nearly $6 million in hiring, referral and appreciation bonuses. This past September, Papa Johns expanded its tuition benefit program – Dough & Degrees – providing team members who work as few as 10 hours per week the opportunity to earn their college degree for free. More than 80% of Dough & Degrees students are working on the frontline in Papa Johns restaurants, and more than 60 Papa Johns team members have earned associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees at no cost to them since Dough & Degrees launched in 2019.
- Embrace Papa Johns role in building a better world for all: In 2022, Papa Johns became the first major pizza delivery chain to announce that its incentive compensation would be linked to the company’s environment, social, and governance (ESG) priorities. This was followed by the announcement of a new commitment to donate 10 million meals to those in need over the next five years as Papa Johns broadened its efforts to fight food insecurity.
Since 1954, IFMA has recognized extraordinary operator executives with the IFMA Silver Plate Award. One Silver Plate honoree is selected by secret ballot to receive the industry's most coveted recognition—the IFMA Gold Plate. Presentation of the Awards will take place at the 69th Annual IFMA Gold & Silver Plate Awards Celebration in Chicago in May.