INTERNATIONAL | Staff Reporter, Australia

Weekly Global News Wrap: Papa John's founder steps down as board chairman after using racial slur; iHOP set for Peruvian expansion; McDonald's pulls salads from 3,000 restaurants due to cyclospora outbreak

Here is a summary of the most interesting QSR news stories of the week from around the world.

The eponymous founder of Papa John’s has resigned as chairman of the pizza brand’s board after using a racial slur during a conference call, as first reported by Forbes.

The call was orchestrated by Papa John’s executives and marketing agency Laundry Service and was designed as a “role-playing exercise” for John Schnatter to prevent future public-relations gaffes.

Schnatter faced public backlash in November 2017 after making comments about the debate over U.S. national anthem protests in the National Football League where he partly blamed the sport organisation for slowing sales at Papa John’s.

The incident, which took place in May, happened after John Schnatter was asked how he would distance himself from racist groups online. He responded by using a racial slur while downplaying his earlier NFL statement.

In an open letter, international CEO Steve Ritchie says that Papa John’s Board of Directors have accepted Schnatter’s resignation and has started to find an independent and outside expert to audit all the brand’s “existing processes, policies and systems related to diversity and inclusion, supplier engagement and Papa John’s culture.”

“We want to regain trust, though I know we need to earn it. We will demonstrate that a diverse and inclusive culture exists at Papa John’s through our deeds and actions,” he said. Read more here.

IHOP is set to expand to South America for the first time after an agreement with new franchisee Percapitals S.A.C. to open 25 restaurants in Peru in the next ten years.

"As part of our announced strategy to focus on development in Latin America, the Middle East and Asia, I am thrilled to see the IHOP brand launch in a new continent and especially in such a vibrant and exciting country as Peru," Steve Joyce, CEO of Dine Brands Global, Inc. and president of Dine Brands International said in a statement.

The first IHOP restaurant is expected to open in mid to late 2019 in Lima.

“Peruvians have shown an outstanding affinity for great American brands, and IHOP is one of the truly great and unique brands with a long heritage of being a breakfast and American Diner leader, serving great menu items throughout the day," said Alex Neira, CEO, Percapitals S.A.C.

Celebrating its 60th anniversary this month, the global pancake brand currently has restaurants in 13 countries and two U.S. territories. Read more here.

McDonalds has announced that it is pulling its salads from approximately 3,000 of their U.S. restaurants primarily located in the American Midwest after multiple reports from public health authorities from Iowa and Illinois about an increase in Cyclospora infections.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we decided to voluntarily stop selling salads at impacted restaurants until we can switch to another lettuce blend supplier. We are in the process of removing existing lettuce blend from identified restaurants and distribution centers,” the fast food giant said in a statement.

According to the U.S.’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, food and water that contains the Cyclospora parasite inflicts consumers with cyclosporiasis: a disease that has symptoms that include watery diarrhea, appetite loss, and stomach pain. Read more here.

Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers announced that it was recognized by Forbes Magazine as the best franchise to buy in America.

The fast casual restaurant concept was number one in the high investment category with a five-year growth rate of 31.3%.

FRANdata, the research and consulting firm behind the ranking, started with over 3,200 franchise brands before narrowing them down to 60 based on satisfactory longevity, activity and scale.

"The ranking analyzed thousands of franchises based on sustainability, demand, investment value, franchisor support and franchisor stability, and to be named as the number one choice for potential franchisees is an incredible honor,” said Randy Simon, President and CEO. Read more here.

Domino’s Pizza, known for their plethora of online deals, offered a huge 50% off discount for all menu-priced pizzas ordered online. The summer promo took place from July 9 to July 15.

"There's no better way to celebrate summer than by enjoying a warm, delicious pizza at the beach, by the pool, at a picnic or wherever your favorite summer spot may be," Domino's spokeswoman Jenny Fouracre said. Read more here.

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