Papa John’s 2023

Jul 11, 2023 | Insights, Restaurant Research

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Executive Summary

Papa John’s brand positioning emphasizes: long standing “Better Ingredients. Better Pizza. Papa Johns” messaging; menu innovation designed to drive reach into new demos and to diminish the need for discounting; digital strength; and culturally relevant marketing tie-ins. The chain’s goal is to translate quality, menu innovation and digital order strength into frequency, trial (expanding its target market into a younger & higher income demo) and higher checks (add-on sales & minimal discounting). While the chain is primarily focused on quality & premium offerings, an abundance of value promotions over the past year addresses macro-economic headwinds. Some of these value promotions included: 2 or more Papa Pairings for $6.99 each; Large 1 Topping Pizza for $10.99; and $4.99 Papa Bites. Also, innovation around lower price point, non-pizza individual portion products (Papadia & Bowls) provide good lunch and add-on options. An impressive 85% digital mix is supported by 30MM loyalty members who drive 50% of total sales and top-line prospects are expected to continue benefiting from third party delivery partnerships that allow PJ to tap into DSP marketplaces. Having said all this, it is notable that the chain must find the optimal mix between check and traffic given increased customer price sensitivity which is a function of current economic pressures. It is also notable that the chain does not use marketing or discounting to promote carryout, which is currently the fastest growing channel in the pizza segment. Further, while its DSP partnerships add market reach and capacity during peak periods, DSP fulfilled orders can be less profitable than internal delivery orders. Net/net, Papa John’s 1Q23 system comps were flat even though they lapped significant comp increases over the last 2 years. In conclusion, while Papa John’s is executing around a solid strategy, its upscale positioning may have to wait for an economic recovery before it regains traction.

Papa John's Market Share Graph

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