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Papa John’s isn’t a Crybaby

They could have sulked.

They could have sued.

They could have said “No comment.”

They could have done absolutely nothing, and likely would have paid the price quietly, possibly for years with some customers.

We are all witnesses.
photo credit: Sonnett

Instead Cleveland-area Papa John’s offered 23 cent pizzas as a way of making amends for the unauthorized production of a t-shirt calling Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James a crybaby. James’ uniform number is 23, thus the price of the pizzas.

The unauthorized Crybaby t-shirts with LeBron’s number were made by a Washington DC franchisee. While that franchisee might be getting grilled in private, their mistake was turned into a positive by the way that Cleveland Papa John’s handled the flap.

All Papa John’s locations in the Cleveland area, Columbus, Toledo and Youngstown will offer the discount pies today from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The lesson for small business owners: How you recover from mistakes and bad news is often more important than the bad news or mistake itself.

Update: Want to put some numbers on it? Google papa john 23 cent pizza. You’ll find 64,300 search engine results in Google on that search phrase. UPI. AP., and on and on. Most of it positive PR for how they handled the situation. Hear more on the Papa Johns LeBron Crybaby story on my May 9 Hotseat Radio show.