Adjusted earnings in the quarter were 31 cents a share, down from 52 cents a year earlier but ahead of forecasts of 24 cents. The net loss in the quarter was 12 cents a share. The period included $13.5 million in after-tax special charges, related largely to legal costs involving former CEO John Schnatter.
Revenue fell to $398 million from $450 million a year earlier but beat first-quarter estimates of $377 million.
Papa John's said system-wide North America comparable-store sales decreased 6.9% in the quarter.
"The first quarter was a time of promise for Papa John's. We made further progress in transforming the culture, thinking and momentum within the company," said President and CEO Steve Ritchie in a statement. "We have significantly strengthened and refreshed the company's leadership, adding talented members to the senior management team and highly qualified directors to the board this year. At the same time, we continued reevaluating all aspects of our go-to-market strategy, identifying multiple opportunities to improve the customer experience, customer value proposition and franchisee unit economics."
It was reported earlier this week that Schnatter, the founder of Papa John's, was planning a possible sale of his stake in the company, according to regulatory filings.
Schnatter owns an estimated 30% of the pizza chain, which has suffered from dwindling same-store sales which the company attributed, in part, to issues involving Schnatter, who generated controversy over racially charged statements. He stepped down as CEO in 2017 and resigned as chairman in January.
The stock was inactive in premarket trading but rose 2.8% in after-hours trading on Tuesday after the results were released.