Papa John's restaurants thank patrons with free pizza

  • Papa John's franchisees Thirumalai Satish and Anand Shanmugam, general manager Pablo Perez and area supervisor Matt Inanc give away pizza Thursday in Schaumburg.

      Papa John's franchisees Thirumalai Satish and Anand Shanmugam, general manager Pablo Perez and area supervisor Matt Inanc give away pizza Thursday in Schaumburg. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Jaime Gonzalez carries pizzas out of Papa John's in Schaumburg. Eight Papa John's restaurants each are giving away 50 pizzas a day through May 1.

      Jaime Gonzalez carries pizzas out of Papa John's in Schaumburg. Eight Papa John's restaurants each are giving away 50 pizzas a day through May 1. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 4/16/2020 6:16 PM

Suburban Papa John's Pizza restaurants are thanking customers in the best way they know: with free pizza.

In appreciation of patrons' feeling an economic pinch as a result of COVID-19 related shutdowns, eight suburban Papa John's Pizza restaurants each will donate 50 large pizzas a day through May 1.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Longtime employee Matt Inanc, a supervisor for the Mount Prospect, Palatine and Schaumburg restaurants, came up with the idea, which franchisee Anand Shanmugam and his partners enthusiastically embraced. It seemed like an ideal way to thank customers and assist them during a crisis, said Shanmugam, who with his partners also operates restaurants in Buffalo Grove, Prospect Heights, Evanston and Niles.

"We've been in business a long time, and this community has supported us," he said. "Wherever the need is, we'll help."

The offer is available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily to the first 50 customers per store who text (224) 253-0122. Customers receive a code redeemable online for a free large pizza with one topping. The pizzas are for takeout only.

Since initiating the giveaway Wednesday, the restaurants donated 20 to 30 pizzas, Shanmugam said, adding that of the hundreds of responses received, most were expressions of gratitude for the gesture.

Participating Papa John's are: 384 W. Half Day Road, Buffalo Grove; 1211 N. Elmhurst Road, Prospect Heights; 859 N. Quentin Road, Palatine; 2525 W. Schaumburg Road and 16 E. Golf Road, Suite D, in Schaumburg; 1780 W. Golf Road, Mount Prospect; 1743 Benson Ave., Evanston; and 8600 W. Golf Road, Niles.

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