While the COVID pandemic has been rough for many, the opposite is true for Papa John’s, which just recorded its sixth straight month of double-digit same-store sales growth.
In September, North American comp sales increased 18.4 percent, U.S. corporate stores were up 14.3 percent, and North American franchised units grew 19.7 percent. International units saw a 23.3 percent leap, which ties the company record set in August. If the company excluded closures, international comp sales would’ve been around 25 percent.
“Six consecutive months of double-digit comparable sales growth were made possible by the hard work of Papa John’s team members and franchisees during the global pandemic,” said CEO Rob Lynch in a statement. “We remain confident that our innovation pipeline, marketing and technology platforms, and strong operations will continue to support strong results during, and after, the pandemic.”
In Q3 overall, North American stores grew 23.8 percent, domestic company locations soared 18.2 percent, North American franchised restaurants rose 25.5 percent, and international units increased 20.6 percent. Without closures, international stores would’ve seen a 23 percent bump in the quarter.
THE COVID-19 ROAD FOR PAPA JOHN'S SO FAR
Of Papa John’s roughly 2,100 International restaurants, about 90 are temporarily closed, mostly in Latin America and Europe. In North America, nearly all locations are open, except for some nontraditional units at universities and stadiums.
The impressive sales amid the pandemic have catapulted Papa John’s into the next phase of its turnaround—ramping up domestic and international unit growth.
Earlier in September, the pizza chain announced a 49-unit development deal for Philadelphia, its largest agreement in the U.S. in more than 20 years. HB Restaurant Group, a 43-unit franchisee, plans to open the restaurants over the course of seven years.
Papa John’s also revealed the construction of a new global headquarters in Atlanta, which will house menu innovation, marketing, customer experience, human resources, diversity, equity, and inclusion, communications,, and development functions. It’s expected to open by next summer.
During Papa John’s Q2 earnings call, Lynch noted that growth in sales was due partly to menu innovation, such as Papadias, Jalapeño Popper Rolls, and the Shaq-a-Roni pizza. The company continued that push in Q3 with the introduction of the Grilled Buffalo Chicken Papadia, which is selling for $6 until October 25. The Papadia’s were introduced earlier in 2020 to boost the lunch daypart, and provide incremental sales.