Papa Johns and Outsourcing

I really do wonder if I’m a magnet for shitty customer service.

As I’ve said before, I fall in love with Brands. I find ones that make me feel comfortable and I stick with them LONG after there’s something actually better around. But what’s funny is that I don’t have much tolerance for bullshit. If you treat me well, even when you mess up, I’ll stay. Treat me poorly, and I’m gone.

For years, I was a Dominos Pizza fan. For those of you who knew me in high school and college, I ordered from them 3-4 nights/week on average. For years. The drivers all knew me by my order and I loved the simple, quick, ’za. Then Dominos had to change their pizza recipe. And Papa Johns came to town about the same time. If I remember correctly, it was actually the change in the breadsticks that pushed me over the edge.

But I’ve been a Papa Johns guy now for nearly 30 years. I have it at home at least once/week and I have gotten it so many times when I’m on various trips that my PJ app address book looks suspicious.

Tonight was no exception. I’m in Chicago for pleasure and after the event, I order dinner around 11:20. I use the app to see that delivery is being outsourced to Door Dash and I KNEW I was going to be in for a bumpy ride.

For those of you who haven’t been paying attention, restaurants are short staffed post-COVID. Delivery institutions that use to hire their own drivers now sometimes lean on Door Dash to do the ”last mile” work.

This is called outsourcing and it’s something I deal with in my regular job an awful lot. The trouble is knowing which throat to choke in the event of an issue. In the present case, Door Dash sent me a notification at 12:05 that my ”Dasher” was having trouble finding them and that I can reach them at their phone number. I call it. No answer: 3x.

Meanwhile, the PapaJohn’s app shows that the pizza has been marked as delivered. Uh oh.

I call the Papa Johns store. I speak to a manager and tell them that it HASN’T been delivered. They first tell me that this is an issue with Door Dash and that I would need to contact them. Here’s the throat problem: *I* didn’t order from Door Dash. THEY chose to use Door Dash. *I* shouldn’t have to manage that part of the relationship. I tell them this. They say they’ll look into it and call me back.

I then get a text from my Dasher: ”I’m here” with a picture of a building sign that isn’t my hotel. I tell them that they’re not at the right place. They text me another photo of another place. Nope: I’m not there, either. I tell them that I’m at a hotel. I tell them that I don’t know where I need to go to find my food. They send a third photo. I figure it out with my phone GPS: they went to 1N instead of 1S. I tell them this and tell them to go bring me my food.


I try calling PJ again. Surprise – their store is now closed and nobody is answering.

I try calling Door Dash. They want to refund me. But they can’t because I didn’t order the food through them. And I don’t want a REFUND. I want my friggin’ food. I’m starving.

I’m going to deal with Papa Johns tomorrow – I’ve already left them a comment on their website feedback form. And I’ll call that store back tomorrow and give them a chance to refund me before I call my credit card company.

For now, I have another 20 minutes before a hotel-recommended late-night local pizza place delivers. Which is good. Because I’m STILL starving.

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