Papa John’s – “Never Frozen” Dough?

There is a dramatic controversy unfolding about claims made by pizza chain retailer Papa John’s.

The box claims:

“Better pizza. Better ingredients.” The CEO’s statement on the box says: “When I founded Papa John’s in 1984, my mission was to build a better pizza,” says “Papa” John Schnatter. “I went the extra mile to ensure we used the highest quality ingredients available – like fresh, never frozen original dough, all-natural sauce, veggies sliced fresh daily and 100 percent real beef and pork. We think you’ll taste the difference.”

Papa John's Pizza Box

Papa John’s Pizza Box

A recent article, entitled What Papa John’s Doesn’t Want You to Know About Its Food, published by US News and World Report challenged these claims. The author, Melanie Warner, claimed that Papa John’s has “decided it’s better to keep their ingredients a secret,” despite her inquiries. She reported that an employee named Charlie at a Boulder Colorado Papa John’s said that “We get deliveries in every three days, so nothing that’s in the fridge is more than a few days old. And we form the dough here. It doesn’t come ready to go, though it is made in a central facility and then frozen.”

Since the article was published, Papa John’s has been doing damage control.  In an MSN Money article entiled Papa John’s fires back at magazine claim, Jonathan Berr reported that the “chain called Warner’s article ‘misleading, absolutely false and unnecessarily alarming to consumers.'”

In the aftermath of the US News and World Report article, Papa John’s Facebook page is riddled with comments both for and against the company.

For example:


  • “I worked at p johns for four years. The dough was always delivered to the store frozen.”
  • “I worked for them for 4years and the dough was ALWAYS frozen when it was delivered, we had to make it thaw then every dough ball must be unstuck from the tray. You should see what an old dough ball looks like wow like something from Aliens.”
  • “That’s not true. I worked at a Papa Johns and most of their toppings are frozen. Some canned. Depends on what your definition of ‘fresh’ is, I guess.”
  • I worked at Papa john’s and never made any dough always heaved it out the walk in and left it sitting out to make it rise also, it all came out of a freezer truck in trays!
  • “The dough is frozen when it comes off of the delivery truck! A close friend was an assistant manager in a high volume store on the east coast and I’ve seen deliveries.”
  • ” pretty sure dough is frozen. worked there for three years. just sayin.”

Not Frozen

  •  “I for one have someone near and dear to me that runs a PJs and I know for FACT nothing is frozen, period. Anything in that store is refrigerated, not frozen. The dough is NOT FROZEN. It comes in trays produced from the commisary and expires rather quickly.”
  • “The dough isn’t frozen, it comes in refrigerated and we keep it that way.. so is the meat and other ingredients. They are cold, not frozen.”
  • “Pj’s is legit. I went to work there years ago after leaving a different pizza place. They didn’t even have a freezer.”
  • “Sorry to bust your bubble…the dough is Never frozen. Worked for PJs for 13 years. I ran the highest volume stores in the US. You are misinformed. It is refrigerated but never frozen. I can attest to this with 100% certainty. Papa is a fanatic about his dough.”
  • “Another PJ manager weighing in…all our ingredients, including dough, are delivered twice a week on a *refrigerated* truck, not a freezer truck. Big difference.”
  • “There was an inaccurate article that ran earlier today, which was written about Papa John’s. The reporter who wrote the story unfortunately received misinformation – and we apologize for not being available when she reached out to us. Papa John’s dough is fresh, never frozen.”


Filed under Class Action Investigations

4 responses to “Papa John’s – “Never Frozen” Dough?

  1. Jennifer Rekar

    The whole premise of better ingredients better pizza is a fallacy. Look at the lawsuit documents. John Schnatter clearly states that his slogan is merely puffery. Pjs won the lawsuit because pizza hut failed to prove their case, not because pjs was telling the truth. Their ingredients are no better or worse than its main competitors. They are just overcharging for it because of their claims. Funny when you read about john schnatter’s early days. Digging in Pizza Hut and Dominos Pizza dumpsters stealing their customer info. Those are his words, look em up. What a classy guy, stealing his way to the top while exaggerating the quality of his product. How cute.

  2. jane customer

    I work there its 31 degrees when we get it and put it in a refridgerator. We get many things from cans and often use expired food as these things are run cheaply. We have 1980s dos computers and they rip off customers and employees. That’s why a guy paid $4 an hour brings your $10 pizza and the total is $15. He doesn’t get that either papa pockets it. Its the same crummy fast food run on slave labor that you get anywheres else

  3. Retro Computer

    The computers look like 1980s dos computers, but they might actually be new builds. It is still unclear why the company wants retro computers, though. There’s a better product out there and the restaurant looks otherwise up to date, so why the vintage style computers?

    also, the food is pretty good, although I wonder if they might be overcharging.

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