Papa John's Gives Me Free Pizza, Soda To Make Up For Closing Early

Mike’s late-night call to Papa John’s yielded no immediate cure for his munchies because the store had closed early. But due to a guilty employee and a screw-up the next day, the call yielded a bounty of free lunch.

He writes:

I just placed an order with my local Papa John’s in [redacted], NY. This particular store closes at 11 p.m. on weekdays and I knew I was getting in under the gun by placing an order at 10:30. Luckily my order went through and my late night hunger could be dealt with. Within less than 3 minutes of placing my order I received a call from an employee of the store apologizing for the bad news he was about to bring. I would not be receiving my meal because a manager had become sick which was forcing the store to close early. Additionally, he said that I should remain near my phone tomorrow so they could offer me a free meal for the inconvenience.

As a very hungry person at present time, I greatly appreciate not only that free meal but the quick response that let me make other plans instead. This location had previously made a delivery but forgot the receipt (to sign for the credit card purchase)…forcing the driver to return to the store to get it. He actually left the pizza behind, despite the transaction not being completed, and returned with a free 2 liter of Coke for the inconvenience. Sadly, I am moving to DC in a few weeks… I can only hope that my new local Papa John’s has the same kind of employees/management.

How has a restaurant’s overreaction to its own mistakes worked in your favor?


Edit Your Comment

  1. UglyShirts says:

    So…Was it Pizza Hut, or Papa John’s? Inquiring minds want to know.

  2. spazztastic says:

    Proofread, THEN click submit!

  3. MDSasquatch says:

    Papa Johns, Pizza Hut, Domino’s…… none of which can be classified as pizza. Does it really matter that the words were transposed in the article?

  4. Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

    Win for (insert mysterious pizza joint name). That is all.

  5. damageinc says:

    In before all the pizza snobs comment how bad chain pizza is compared to their local pizza.

    • qbubbles says:

      Eff American pizza, lol. The best I ever had was in Belgium. And I’ve been to Italy.

      • pop top says:

        Hasn’t it been pretty much confirmed by now that pizza isn’t actually from Italy, like how a lot of Mexican food in the US isn’t really from Mexico?

        • qbubbles says:

          It was more of a, “Italy makes damn good pizza” type of thing. But srsly… I dream about this pizza. And it’s been 14 years since I had it, last.

          5 cheeses… one of which being Gorgonzola. Zomg. I need a plane ticket to Belgium. I’m sure the pizza joint is still there.

    • dolemite says:

      You gotta go down to Antonio’s for Pizza. Best pizza in the world! He and his brother Luigi bring the pizza straight from Italy, on a boat…right to OH. I lament all you suckers that like the corporate pizza!

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      Nah, MDSasquatch kind of beat you in that they claimed chain stuff is crap but didn’t mention any local places.

    • majortom1981 says:

      Well If you live near nyc then yes it is MUCH worse then local pizza and more expensive.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Ha! If the OP is moving to the DC area, the best pizza place is, without question, Tony’s NY Pizza in Fairfax.

      • MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

        Have you tried Giuseppe’s Pizza in Rockville, or any Mamma Lucia’s? To me, they both are very close to the NY style pizza that I had growing up in NYC.

        (OP, take note…)

      • BridgetPentheus says:

        Pizza Mart!!!!!!!!!!! As long as you are drunk

    • Raekwon says:

      What if I make pizza at home? No seriously making pizza tonight! Then again I also love the occasional Papa John’s splurge.

  6. larrymac thinks testing should have occurred says:

    Not seeing a “screw up the next day” nor an overreaction, but whatevs. The location got redacted so hard it changed a Papa John’s into a Pizza Hut, so anything could happen.

    • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

      Phil misread the letter the OP wrote saying that they forgot the receipt to sign. Apparently, when Phil read “The location had PREVIOUSLY made…”

      Oh, wait. He didn’t read.

  7. RandomHookup says:

    I’m not sure I would call it an overreaction…just a reaction.

    • RandomHookup says:

      For a fast food place that reacts well when you have a problem, check out Boloco (@boloco). Tweet about a problem with food or service and they will set you up with a freebie. Say good things about them and they might just do the same. I think the CEO stopped spending his time on it, but someone follows any mention of the restaurant and engages in conversation (sometimes creepily so).

  8. minjche says:

    Come on, Phil, proofread!

    • qbubbles says:

      26 minutes later, its still not fixed.

    • searonson says:

      At first, I felt bad for Phil because everyone rags on him.

      Then, I started noticing the same byline on posts that were unclear or blown out of proportion. Sometimes they would have a misleading title that would make me click to read something that would otherwise be lame.

      Now, I want a way to sort my Consumerist feed so that Phil’s post don’t show up. Sorry Phil.

  9. aloria says:


  10. Ed Greenberg says:

    Einstein’s Bagels, in Cedar Park, TX comped me a dozen bagels when they had lost a phone order. Nice of them.

  11. Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

    “Mike’s late-night call to Pizza Hut yielded no immediate cure for his munchies because the store had closed early. But due to a guilty employee and a screw-up the next day, the call yielded a bounty of free lunch.”

    Shouldn’t it read: “Mike’s late night call to Papa John’s yielded no immediate cure for his munchies because of an unforeseen illness with the manager towards the end of the night. But Papa John’s doesn’t just forget about their customers, oh no — and as proof, they provided a bounty of free lunch to make it up to the customer who went thru the night without his Papa John’s fix. And this isn’t even the first time they’ve done something nice….”

    The screw up wasn’t the next day, Phil. It was on a PREVIOUS delivery. And it didn’t sound like guilt that drove the store to make it up to the customer- maybe it was just a good store. Come ON Phil.

  12. Ed Greenberg says:

    Einstein’s Bagels, in Cedar Park, TX comped me a dozen bagels when they had lost a phone order. Nice of them.

  13. ThunderRoad says:

    My hope is that when my local McDonald’s closes early, then subway will comp me a couple sammiches.

  14. allknowingtomato says:

    Gee, I’d really like for my consumer behavior to adjust to reflect both the good and bad things that companies do to their customers. If only there were some website that would give me accurate information on which pizza delivery chains make right on early closures with a perk. Oh wait, that’s what this website is supposed to do.

    Seriously. SO MANY typos are tolerated on this website. could you at least check that the company you are talking about is appropriately named, and not just let the name of a competitor (!) business slip in there? We should put up with (even numerous) small inconsequential typos. In exchange for our tolerance, you should at least get the subject matter of the post right.

    I’m guessing this post is about papa john’s (since that’s what the OP says.) Garlic dipping sauce increasing my pizza calorie intake FTW

  15. Mary13134 says:

    Heck I opt for walmarts Marketside pizzas. You have a good variety and the size of the pizza and price can’t be beat by any of the competition… i make it myself and I know whats on it…for 9.98 for a large you can’t beat it. It feeds 5 adults easily.

  16. qbubbles says:

    I’m frickin loving the dissent that this post has generated.

    Rise, RISE!!!

  17. deadandy says:

    I think this is actually some kind of new policy for Papa John’s.

    I ordered pizza last weekend and it took about an hour. I actually didn’t think anything of it because it was in the middle of football and I’m sure tons of people were ordering. I didn’t complain or anything.

    Then, a couple days later I got a call from a local manager apologizing for the “late” pizza, and explaining that a free large cheese pizza had been added to my account.

  18. sopmodm14 says:

    i’m always going to order within 15 mins of closing…..that way, either i get food spit on for free, or a free meal, lol

  19. tweeder82o says:

    Ordered online, after 45 minutes the drivered called and said he’s not allow to go to my house because it is about 1 – 2 miles over his allowed route. I called the manager and told him that the website made the order to their store so he should use his powers to allow the driver to come to my house because I didn’t make the mistake of ordering from the wrong (farther) branch. The manager was rude and mad and said that though he can’t allow the driver to drive farther, he can cancel my order. I wrote corporate to no avail (e.g. no free pizza).

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      It does seem to vary by location. The one I’m close to now seems OK but the one I was close to at my last place was staffed by jerks and potheads.

  20. DcChick says:

    I can assure you, you will not get this treatment in DC. Just be happy they actually answer the phone. When it comes to DC pizza joints, go local.

  21. bkdlays says:

    Ya pick a place Phil!

  22. joecoolest says:

    Poorly chosen editorial comment. This article shouldn’t be about “getting free stuff”. IMO, you are doing a disservice by not focusing SOLELY on the real story of how good customer service (even in less than ideal circumstances) results in happy customers.

  23. herbie says:


    *shaking fist at heavens*

  24. Rachacha says:

    “How has a restaurant’s overreaction to its own mistakes worked in your favor?”

    Red Robin restaurants which we visit fairly regularly over reacted to a mistake and sent some love our way. We walked in to the restaurant and were sat at a table, but apparently the hostess never informed the waiter. As we each have our favorite dishes, we never need to look at the menu. Someone who was closing out their section (restocking sugars, salt & pepper and wiping down tables) noticed we had been sitting there for a few minutes (less than 5 minutes) with our menu’s closed, came over and apologized and took our order and advised us that she would get our waiter for us too. A few seconds later the manager comes over with our drinks, and again apoligizes for making us wait and says that to apoligize for the error, our entire meal (drinks, entrees and desserts) would be covered at NO COST to us. I said that was not necessary (heck, a free dessert would have been too much as I was not annoyed and was not complaining), but she insisted. We got a $50 meal for 4 for free. Left the waiter a really nice tip.

    • Blueberry Scone says:

      Oh, wow! That’s cool that they comped it, but I would have felt embarrassed in your shoes – it was a nice gesture, but the ‘offense’ (and I’m stretching to call it that) doesn’t warrant a free meal.

      I bet they did that for you because you were nice and polite about it, too. :)

  25. FeelinFroggy says:

    Either way they both suck…. The only time they are acceptable is when you’re drunk.
    Pizza Hut, Dominos, Papa Johns, White Castle etc…..all drunkard food.
    Dammit now I feel like getting drunk….

  26. Keliken says:

    Who is writing for The Consumerist? Associated Press? Is it Pizza Hut or Papa John’s? My guess is Papa John’s since PH hasn’t a clue.

  27. Keliken says:

    Who is writing for The Consumerist? Associated Press? Is it Pizza Hut or Papa John’s? My guess is Papa John’s since PH hasn’t a clue.

  28. DovS says:

    That was NOT an overreaction. It is just good customer service.

    True, they did more than required by law but the legal minimum is far from the legal customer satisfaction minimum.

    We would prefer if companies never made mistakes but companies are run by humans and mistakes will happen. Ultimately, customers understand that but it when the companies fail to take any responsibility for their mistakes that they disappoint customers. It sounds like this company knows how to make their customers happy so that they remain customers.

  29. Conformist138 says:

    All issues with how this article is written aside, the best thing a pizza place ever did was refund an entire order that was technically correct. They made a mistake, however, of delivering the pizza at 10:30 and not 11pm as I requested. I wasn’t at work yet, so the delivery person actually let a co-worker sign my receipt and take my food. Luckily, my co-workers are awesome and didn’t mess with it, but my pizza was cold and I was disturbed by the fact that my co-worker told the delivery person that she was not me, but they let her have the order anyway. I called to give them a heads up that this isn’t really cool, and they apologized and refunded all my money. Of course, it may not have been kindness as much as the realization that they had a receipt signed by someone who wasn’t the card holder and had no proof of the card being present at the time of delivery, but the result was still the same: dinner on the house!

  30. Dyscord says:

    Papa John’s is always like this. If they make a mistake, they will GLADLY make up for it. Plus they offer a lot of deals. And, around here at least, their pizza is better than the other chains.