Presidential candidate Herman Cain took over Godfather’s Pizza and claims to have saved it from bankruptcy and to have made it profitable. He has never released any earnings statements to back this up. Here are the sales figures that were printed in industry journals like Restaurant Business and National Restaurant News and articles in the Wall Street Journal and N.Y. Times over the years he ran Godfather’s. The second number is the number of stores or units at the time. The first two years are before he took over.

1984 $375 million (900 stores) or $365 (according to N.Y. Times – Tuesday, September 20, 1988, ERIC N. BERG

1985 $325 (760 stores) ( according to Cain himself in Herman Cain, president, Godfather’s. (Executive Profile).Laurie Bain. Restaurant Business v85.(July 20, 1986) (Pillsbury took over Godfather’s in the middle of 1985)

1986: $275 million (720 stores) (Pillsbury sent Cain to manage Godfather’s in April of 1986) – source: http://uwf.edu/hbettisoutland/Case%20Studies/Pizza%20Hut%20Inc.pdf)

1987: $261million (source: Godfather’s: back in the family, Kevin Farrell. Restaurant Business v86.n16 (Nov 1, 1987): pp119(7).

1988: $242.5 million (Wall Street Journal, 20 Sep 1988: 1 )

1989: $225 million (509 stores) (Pizza, Jacque Kochak. Restaurant Business v89.n8 (May 20, 1990): pp143(8). )

1990 $229 million (512 stores) ( Bicycling Through Corporate America by Paul Wolsfeld http://www.corporatetrivia.com/archive/47.html

1991 ?

1992 $242(520 stores) (Pizza: market segment report.Carol Casper. Restaurant Business v92.n3 (Feb 10, 1993): pp126(7).)

1993 $249.5 million (National Restaurant News: Top 100 chains ranked by U.S. systemwide foodservice sales., 1995)

1994 $255.7 million (514 stores) (Ibid.)

1995 $260 million (525 stores) [1]

1996 $265.5 million

1997 $270 million

2002 $306 (600 stores) (Pizza Power: 2003, PMQ. – http://www.pmq.com/mag/2003september_october/pp/pp1.html)

Godfather’s did 260 million in Cain’s first full year of 1987. He didn’t make it back to 260 million until 1995.

Adjusted for inflation between 1986 and 2002 (62%), the $260 million he made his first year equaled  $418.6 million in 2002 dollars. After 16 years of running Godfather’s Pizza, adjusted for inflation, it was only making about 75 cents (306 million versus 418.6 million) for every dollar it made 15 years earlier when he  took over.  In the meantime, other Pizza chains rose and Godfather’s Pizza, which started at #5 when he took over, ended up #10 (or #11 his last full year in 2001), when he finished with it.

The Pizza Business was booming in the 1990’s. Papa John’s which started with 1 store in 1986, when Cain had 720 stores, did $1.749.5 billion in 2002. This is over five times Godfather’s $306 million.

Can we describe this as a textbook case of poor management?


[1]  For ’95, 96’97’, Nation’s Restaurant News; 06/23/97, Vol. 31 Issue 25, p95, 12p, 13 Charts