Papa John's to open 49 new franchise locations amid pandemic

HB Restaurant Group and Papa John’s will open stores in Philadelphia and New Jersey

Papa John’s has plans to compete heavily in the Northeast with 49 new restaurants scheduled to open up in the next eight years.

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The restaurants will be opened throughout Philadelphia and southern New Jersey by Papa John’s franchisee HB Restaurant Group. The national pizza chain made the announcement in a press release, which was released on Thursday.

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While some restaurants have struggled to make ends meet in light of the coronavirus pandemic, Papa John’s has been reaching milestones.

In the first half of 2020, Papa John’s raked in nearly $870.5 million in total revenue, according to the company’s second-quarter results. Comparatively, the pizza chain made $798 million in the first six months of 2019.

Papa John's has made more money during the coronavirus lockdowns than it did the previous year, comparative quarterly earnings show. (iStock)

“Recent record sales have driven further gains in store profitability,” said Papa John’s Chief Development Officer Amanda Clark, in a statement. “Combined with our resilient e-commerce and delivery model, a transforming brand and significant whitespace, Papa John’s today offers franchise investors a truly compelling opportunity.”

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She also noted that HB Restaurant Group is “an important member of the Papa John’s family” while vocalizing the brand’s excitement about the partnership.

HB Restaurant Group became a franchisee in April 2019 and already has 43 locations. Adding an additional 49 locations brings HB Restaurant Group’s current count to 92.

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Papa John’s largest franchisee is PJ United, which has 150 locations throughout Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, Ohio, Tennessee, Illinois, Missouri, Mississippi and Virginia, according to its website.

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PZZAPAPA JOHN'S INTERNATIONAL97.36+2.16+2.27%

The strides Papa John’s has made to advance its business in recent years has helped to carve out a space for new investors, Clark explained to FOX Business.

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“Since late last year, Papa John’s new culture of innovation and winning has been driving strong sales improvements and this has only accelerated during the pandemic. With this positive momentum, now is the time for us to also focus on development,” she said. “As a relatively young global pizza brand, Papa John’s existing and new franchisees have huge white space to grow and I couldn’t be more excited about our opportunity ahead.”