Herman Cain: The Godfather's Pizza years

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By Steve Jordon
From Omaha World Herald:

Godfather’s Pizza of Omaha started with rapid growth, head-spinning profits and a $300 million buyout.

But then profits crashed. Franchise holders were in revolt, complaining that they had been abandoned, weathering three different presidents in four months. Bigger competitors, especially Pizza Hut, woke up to diners’ preference for thicker pizza. Bankers got nervous about loaning money for new locations, stifling the chain’s once-rapid expansion.

By 1986, Godfather’s was a troubled, minor division of Pillsbury Co., losing money, bloated with unprofitable locations, facing an uncertain future.

See Herman Cain’s performance in the 1991 Omaha Press Club show:

That’s where Herman Cain begins his Omaha story, a key part of the inspirational background that today appeals to those supporting his campaign for the Republican nomination for president. And his pizza franchise experience, he says now, shaped his political views.

Cain’s speech-making was his most visible role at Godfather’s, which today is a steady performer with 620 locations in the tough restaurant franchise business.

Some of those who worked with Cain during his 13 years in Omaha say he was a hands-on leader of a team of managers and shares credit for stabilizing the company, particularly for his inspiration and his focus on marketing strategies that worked.

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