June 19, 2019 / 9:32 PM / 4 months ago

UPDATE 1-Papa John's to invest $80 mln in marketing, U.S. franchisees

(Adds details on investment, background)

June 19 (Reuters) - Papa John's International Inc, which has been struggling to boost sales, said on Wednesday it would spend $80 million to boost its brand image and support its franchisees in the United States from the third quarter of fiscal year 2019.

The pizza chain said it will lower royalties and provide royalty-based service incentives to its U.S. franchisees until the end of 2020.

Papa John's has been working to fix its brand image as negative publicity dented sales last year after founder John Schnatter reportedly used a racial slur during a media training conference call last year.

The company settled a bitter feud with Schnatter over control of the company in March. In the same month, it also named former basketball star Shaquille O'Neal as a board member, brand ambassador and investor in a bid to boost sales. (Reporting by Soundarya J in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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