Papa Murphy’s International today announced that it closed 2007 with over $500 million in total U.S. systemwide sales, a nearly 13 percent increase from 2006. New store sales volumes rose 46% over the last year. Now the fifth largest pizza company in the U.S. (based on U.S. store count), Papa Murphy’s ended the year with 1,067 locations, opening 119 in 2007. The company continues to be widely acknowledged for its excellence in value, quality, variety, service and convenience. In fact, consumers named the company “Best Pizza Chain in America” for the fifth time in 2007.

Last year was also marked by new leadership, new international territory, numerous operational advancements and many company achievements. First, Clarice Turner was appointed to the position of president and chief operating officer in May. Turner spent 16 years in a variety of executive management positions with Taco Bell Corporation, a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, before joining Papa Murphy’s. Second, the take ‘n’ bake pioneer blazed its trail outside of U.S. borders in 2007, opening ten stores in Canada. Additionally, Papa Murphy’s found success in the following:

* Launching three new products – Taco Grande Pizza, 5-Meat Stuffed Pizza, and the Jack-O-Lantern Pizza. In fact, the Jack-O-Lantern Pizza propelled Papa Murphy’s to an all-time weekly sales high.

* Eliminating all added trans fat from the company’s entire pizza line. Today all Papa Murphy’s pizzas contain zero grams of trans fat per serving.

* Securing a spot on the first-ever Inc. 5,000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in the country. Papa Murphy’s also took a place on the magazine’s list of the Top 100 Food & Beverage Companies.

* Introducing the “We Can Do That!” campaign, which emphasizes the company’s menu customization capabilities. With an aim to please the palate of every pizza-lover, this campaign demonstrates that customers have endless options at Papa Murphy’s.

* Adding 33 new franchise entity groups throughout the country. Today there are 560 franchise owners in 30 states and two Canadian provinces.

With its sights set on opening over 300 new stores over the next two years, Papa Murphy’s is aggressively seeking even more franchise owners in 2008 for these metropolitan areas:

* Amarillo, TX

* Dallas/Fort Worth, TX

* Denver, CO

* Fresno, CA

* Indianapolis, IN

* Kansas City, MO

* Milwaukee, WI

* Minneapolis, MN

* Oklahoma City, OK

* Phoenix, AZ

* Reno, NV

* Sacramento, CA

* Salt Lake City, UT

* Springfield, MO

* Tyler/Longview, TX

* Waco, TX

* Wichita, KS

“Experience the Freedom of Owning Your Own Franchise,” is an informational forum currently touring the U.S. Kevin King, senior vice president of development, says that new franchise owners in the above metropolitan areas will have a leg up. “The markets we’re targeting have already been exposed to Papa Murphy’s; they’re educated on the take ‘n’ bake concept, familiar with the Papa Murphy’s brand, and have fallen in love with our product.”

News, Pizza