Coronavirus drives Papa John's continued sales growth

Pizza chain reports 3 months of double-digit growth

Papa John’s International capitalized on stay-home orders amid the coronavirus pandemic to drive growth.

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The Louisville, Kentucky-based pizza chain’s North American stores have seen three consecutive months of double-digit sales growth, the company announced Tuesday. Its sales were up 24 percent in June.

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Papa John’s international sales grew slower, up 5 percent in June.

Rob Lynch, president and CEO of Papa John’s, attributed the growth to initiatives like contact-free delivery and new “Papadias,” a sandwich with bread made from pizza dough.

Papa John's president and CEO Rob Lynch (Photo illustration)

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“Continued strong results reflect both the hard work of our team members and local franchisees, as well as the trust that we have earned from millions of customers who have relied on us to deliver high-quality pizza and other food throughout the pandemic,” Lynch said in a statement.

While the pandemic did force about 2,100 international Papa John’s locations to temporarily close, most have reopened, according to the company. About 225 remain closed.

Papa John's signage is displayed on top of a delivery vehicle outside of the company's restaurant in Nashville (Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

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And as sales increased despite closures, Papa John’s has hired about 20,000 new employees during the pandemic, according to Lynch.

He said the company is continuing to work on new products, too. Just this week, Papa John’s announced a new collaboration with board member and franchisee Shaquille O’Neal to sell extra-large “Shaq-a-Roni" pizzas, with $1 from each going to the Papa John’s Foundation for Building Community.

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