Papa John’s Red-Hot Run Continues

    International same-store sales grew a record 23.3 percent in August.

    Pizza | August 2020 | Ben Coley
    A slice of Papa John's pizza is being lifted by a hand.

    Papa John's

    During Papa John’s Q2 earnings call, Lynch attributed the chain’s growth to adding more than three million customers to its loyalty base and product innovation.

    After a record-breaking second quarter, Papa John’s is showing no signs of slowing down after same-store sales grew 24.2 percent at North American restaurants in August.

    In addition, North American franchised restaurants increased 26.1 percent and U.S. company-owned stores rose 18 percent.

    The impressive numbers come on the heels of a second quarter in which North American locations saw a 28 percent lift in comps. North American franchises soared 29.7 percent and company-run units increased 22.6 percent.

    In July, North American same-store sales grew more than 30 percent, despite rises in COVID cases across the U.S. Franchises upped 32.4 percent, while company-owned stores climbed 23.6 percent.

    Also in August, international stores increased 23.3 percent—a new record. The previous mark was set in July when units lifted 14 percent.

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    Approximately 150 of the company’s 2,063 international units are temporarily closed, primarily in Latin America and Europe. In North America, virtually all restaurants are open. The few that are temporarily closed are based in nontraditional locations like universities and stadiums.

    “Papa John’s sales, driven by product innovation, remained strong in August,” CEO Rob Lynch said in a statement. “As we have added new customers throughout 2020, our customer satisfaction and brand affinity scores also continue rising. Our international business gained further momentum in August too and continues to improve as more countries across the globe open back up for business.”

    During Papa John’s Q2 earnings call, Lynch attributed the chain’s growth to adding more than three million customers to its loyalty base and product innovation such as Papadias, Jalapeño Popper Rolls, and the Shaq-a-Roni pizza. The CEO said the company is seeing a higher retention of customers and repeat rates while the Papadias and Jalapeño Popper Rolls are incremental and driving higher tickets and traffic across dayparts.

    Riding the wave of momentum, Lynch also noted that Papa John’s will ramp up its domestic and international unit growth. Strong performance and profitability reduced closures of traditional North American franchises to the lowest rate in 10 years.

    “Right now, we’re building the infrastructure to be able to support that,” Lynch said during the brand’s Q2 earnings call. “So we’re building best-in-class capabilities that frankly we didn’t have before in terms of how we think about the territories both domestically as well as internationally. There’s a ton of white space for us. We have half as many restaurants as our competitors in North America and way less than that internationally.”