Shaquille O’Neal signs board and endorsement deal with Papa John’s

Papa John’s has teamed up with Shaquille O’Neal to turn the company around after the company has struggled to keep and acquire new customers amid close to a year of turmoil with Papa John’s founder, John Schnatter.

O’Neal might be new to the board room, but he is also an investor in nine Papa John’s restaurants in Atlanta. As a franchisee, O’Neal will hold a roughly 30 percent stake in those nine Atlanta stores, while Papa John’s will own the remaining 70 percent.  O’Neal will provide $840,000 in financing for the $2.8 million joint venture with Papa John’s.

It is only a matter of time and customers will see O’Neal endorsing the brand in commercials, as well as social and digital integrations as an endorsement deal was also part of the agreement that will see the former NBA star receive 8.25 million to be the new face behind Papa John’s.  Of that 8.25 million, O’Neal will receive half in cash and the other half in Papa John’s stock giving him a bigger slice of the pie.

This is not the first time the retired NBA player and analyst has invested in the food business as O’Neal has been actively investing in restaurants since his days in the league and owns a Krispy Kreme Doughnuts franchise in Atlanta, a Las Vegas fried chicken restaurant called Big Chicken in addition to his Los Angeles fine dining restaurant called Shaquille’s.

Papa John’s has been trying to regain not only customers, but rebuild its company image and the deal with O’Neal will do just that.  O’Neal is a true professional on and off the court, and he knows how to get the media’s attention in all the right ways.

I was very fortunate to see O’Neal play in Miami and I was amazed at how he worked the crowd and showed his dominance on the court and I can only assume that he will do the same in the boardroom with the interests of the 800 franchisees top of mind.

By Jamie Barrie