Operationally, there’s a clear focus on purchasing and pickup experiences anchored by an open floorplan. Inside, Papa John's added a pickup counter, which now boasts a self-service option for guests to grab their orders without waiting in line. Some also feature “Drive-Up Pick Up,” or essentially curbside pickup spaces. Others tout pickup windows as a drive-thru feature for consumers to order ahead and collect food out the window.
In the back, Papa Johns designed modular stations for employees to use the same space for different products at different times. For instance, as they cut pizzas and place the pepperoncini pepper and Papa Johns' Garlic Sauce cup inside each box, they will be better equipped with a special space to add these final touches.
Alongside modular make-lines, Papa Johns implemented cut-table improvements to enable higher throughput at peak times—a reflection, Carpenter says, of the fact demand has surged across the fleet.
“Part of making it easier to say yes to Papa Johns development is having a smart and seamless design,” said Amanda Clark, Papa Johns’ chief development officer, in a statement. “We worked with customers and our operations team to understand how we can have our stores be a true reflection of our brand while delivering an efficient operational experience, and this design delivers on that.”
As far as timing goes, the new design, logo, and visual identity will unfold in a “phased approach,” Carpenter says. The new logo officially launches this week. The updated identity and store design will follow.
“Given the scope of the changes, we’re intentionally taking a methodical approach to this implementation,” she says. “The duration of the rollout is going to cover an extended period of time, and we’ve actually taken that into consideration in designing the elements of this brand evolution to make sure that we considered a period of transition or overlap.”
In other terms, some changes can occur quicker than others, and still present a refreshed vibe. Clark’s development team created a tiered approach to different levels of retrofitting existing stores.
It’s an important junction in terms of future expansion, however.
Lynch told QSR he believes Papa Johns could “build another 2,000 to 3,000 restaurants in the United States.”
Despite headwinds with labor and supply chain, Papa Johns has continued to open restaurants. The chain debuted 46 net stores in Q3, including 32 internationally and 14 in North America. Year-to-date, the brand added 169 net new units and expects to finish the year with 220–260 net new stores, which would represent year-over-year growth of 4.5–5 percent.
Papa Johns inked a deal with PJ Western Group to open 250 restaurants in Germany, and one with Drake Food Service International to open more than 220 units in Latin America, Spain, Portugal, and the U.K. Then in September (the record agreement), Sun Holdings agreed to debut 100 stores across Texas through 2029.
The brand finished the third quarter with 5,569 outlets systemwide, including 3,323 in North America and 2,246 internationally.
On that international note, Lynch highlighted in recent quarterly reports how the brand operates in 50 or so counties. Its competitors are in 100-plus. In one example, there are 200 Papa Johns in China—a country where Pizza Hut garnered 15 percent of its system sales last quarter—and Lynch believes there could be 1,000.
Total company revenues increased 8.4 percent to $512.8 million in Q3, and global systemwide restaurant sales lifted 11.2 percent to $1.2 billion
Papa Johns keyed franchisees in throughout the brand changes, Carpenter says. So Tuesday’s news is hardly a “grand reveal” to Papa Johns operators. From the outset, the goal was to build on the company’s recent momentum while also nodding to its heritage.
“This is an evolution, not a radical change, which I think [franchisees] are excited about,” Carpenter says. “… As a company, our mission and values are not changing. This is intended to put a finer point on it and help unite our focus across the organization.”
Added Max Wetzel, chief commercial officer: “We are evolving how the Papa Johns experience comes to life across all touchpoints, while remaining true to what got us where we are today and bringing to life our continued aspirations to improve and grow. This new experience is both a celebration of our tremendous momentum and a vision to inspire future growth.