LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Pizza mogul John Schnatter has been the face of Papa Johns since its founding in the 1980s, but a recent scandal surrounding Schnatter means you won't be seeing his face on the business forefront anymore.
Overnight, Schnatter stepped down as chairman of the company he founded. It came just hours after apologizing for using a racial slur in a conference call.
Public Relations experts said, so far, the business has taken the right steps for recovery by separating Papa Johns’ from its embattled founder.
"I think the further that they let this issue part, the better it will be for the company,” Bob Gunnell said.
Schnatter quickly apologized and resigned on Wednesday, after the allegation of a racial slur surfaced online.
Now, experts said the company is focused on preventing too much fall-out.
"I think they have to show that they are a company that is compassionate and cares about all companies that they represent, I think that they need to be extremely sensitive to anyone that they offended and I think they have to do some outreach from this point forward,” Gunnell said.
Experts said a situation like this one can be detrimental to a business if leaders don't act appropriately by removing the controversial leader quickly.
But in this case, the company did it right, according to the Institute for Crisis Management CEO Deborah Hileman. She said that move, made early on, will help them move forward.
"I think it will take some time certainly but our cravings for good pizza I think will overcome our feelings about one individual. and we will be able to forgive the brand because they have done the right thing by separating themselves from the individual who was causing the de-image to the brand,” Hileman said.
She said the business has already taken the first steps to recovery but we won't know the scandal's true impact on Papa John's until publicity dies down.
"I think what Papa Johns is probably going to be looking at is how they can rebuild the brand absent Schnatter. They really have to distance themselves from him,” Hileman said.
Experts said the business’ decisions in the next three months will determine how quickly they recover or fall in the future.