Papa John’s Continues to Reach Unprecedented Sales

    Recent comps more than quadrupled January’s numbers.

    Pizza | May 2020 | Ben Coley

    Papa John's

    New products, like Papadias, have lifted Papa John's in recent months.

    Papa John’s North American same-store sales skyrocketed 33.5 percent in May, eclipsing a company record it just set in April.

    The figure is more than four times higher than what the company captured in January and more than six times higher than what it reached in February.

    The pizza chain is coming off a month in which North American restaurants systemwide grew 27 percent, domestic company-run units rose 22 percent and North American franchises lifted 28.4 percent.

    INSIDE PAPA JOHN'S COMEBACK STORY

    Not only did the systemwide numbers increase to 33.5 percent from April 27 to May 24, but U.S. company stores soared to 28.3 percent and U.S. franchises grew to 35.1 percent. International stores went from 1.4 percent in April to 7 percent in May.

    Papa John’s has proven to be a much different company than it was last year. In Q2 2019, systemwide North American restaurants saw a 5.7 percent drop in sales—a far cry from what the pizza chain will report later in August during its earnings call.

    “Our teams continue to meet the needs of new and returning customers and their communities, while making health and safety our top priority,” said CEO Rob Lynch in a statement. “We entered the pandemic with strong growth and momentum, and are fortunate that our delivery and carry-out model has enabled us to meet an essential need for high quality food, safely delivered to consumers’ homes. Everyone at Papa John’s takes this responsibility seriously, and is committed to supporting our neighbors in their time of need."

    About 320 of the brand’s 2,100 international franchised stores are temporarily closed due to government mandates—120 in the Middle East, 105 in Latin America, and 90 in Europe. Some of those markets are open mostly for delivery only, like in the U.K. Excluding these closures, comp sales at international units would have grown 12 percent in April and 15 percent in May.

    In North America, virtually all traditional locations remain open while a handful of nontraditional spots—like in universities and stadiums—are temporarily closed.

    Throughout the pandemic, Papa John’s launched contactless delivery and hired thousands of workers to meet an increase in demand, which appears to still be growing.

    “As states and communities slowly reopen, we continue to show strong performance,” Lynch said. “The success of ‘No Contact Delivery’ and new products like Papadias—both examples of a new culture of innovation at Papa John’s—continue to drive results. We wish for a speedy recovery and return to normal, and are optimistic about Papa John’s long-term future given the strong foundation that we have continued to build during these challenging times.”