Papa Murphy’s

Unique in the Industry: With its bake-it-yourself pizza, Papa Murphy's offers a streamlined operating model

In the pizza category, Papa Murphy’s consistently leads the way in consumer preference. “One of our key differentiators is our consumer audience,” says Scott Mellon, vice president of franchise sales at Papa Murphy’s. “We’re targeting moms; we’re targeting families. This has led to to a customer who’s far more loyal than others in the pizza space.”

Papa Murphy’s now has about 1,450 stores across 38 states in the U.S., as well as in Canada and Dubai. The company plans to grow within its existing markets this year, concentrating especially on the southeastern and southwestern U.S.

It offers development opportunities for single-unit as well as multi-unit franchise owners. For single-unit owner-operators, restaurant experience is not required. “We’re looking for highly motivated people who have always wanted to own their own business, who are willing to work hard, and who have the basic skills, business acumen, and the financial wherewithal to be successful,” says Kevin King, chief development officer at Papa Murphy’s. “They should also be a passionate advocate of the brand, because as a franchise owner, they really carry the reputation of the brand in that market.” Multi-unit franchise owners are required to have restaurant or retail experience, and many are already multi-unit owner-operators of other brands.

Papa Murphy’s is competitive in terms of franchise startup costs, and the operating model is less complex than many quick-service brands. There are no ovens, no delivery, no dining room, and no late hours. “We have one of the lowest investments in the quick-service industry,” says King. “Not only does it have a lower cost, it’s easier to operate, and it’s family-friendly in terms of hours.”

New franchise owners experience five weeks of training, which ranges from owner and manager training in a classroom to on-site, practical application in an existing Papa Murphy’s store. “Our training process is taking a person who’s never owned and operated a Papa Murphy’s before, and really equipping them to own and operate a store,” Mellon says. A specialized grand opening team also supports the opening of each new store.

Franchise owners receive support from the corporate team in regular store visits and evaluations, as well as ongoing training programs. Prior to store opening, Papa Murphy’s offers aid in real estate development and construction, and for the grand opening and beyond, it provides full marketing support, including ad materials and strategic direction.

Papa Murphy’s also differentiates itself from other pizza brands by its fresh ingredients. “As consumers become more educated about what they’re eating, they’re looking for made-from-scratch dough, whole-milk mozzarella, fresh vegetables, 100 percent whole meat—all of which we offer,” Mellon says. Its distinctive preparation system, unique in the industry, involves assembling those ingredients into pizzas for customers to cook in their own homes.

Papa Murphy’s offers a standout choice for those looking to invest in the pizza space, and it’s positioned to grow in 2015.

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