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This Popular Fast-Food Pizza Chain Is Opening 180 New Locations

The kingdom of Papadias is expanding!
papa johns pepperoni pizza with slice being served

No one has fared quite as well as pizza chains during this year of unprecedented difficulties for restaurants. We've reported on the popularity of restaurants like Domino's and Papa John's early on in the pandemic, and the demand for these beloved brands and their product hasn't waned since.

It's no surprise then that Papa John's, which has seen a steady increase in sales since March, announced it will be expanding its footprint with dozens of new locations in the Northeast and 180 in all of North America.

The company says that as of Sept. 27, their plan is to open 1,380 restaurants—1,200 international locations and 180 in North America—by 2026. (Related: 15 Classic American Desserts That Deserve a Comeback.)

Earlier this year, in one of the chain's biggest expansion deals in two decades, Papa John's franchisee HB Restaurant Group negotiated an expansion with 49 new locations, slated to open in Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey by 2028. The restaurant group currently owns 43 PJ's restaurants in the mid-Atlantic area, the first of which was opened in April 2019.

Most recently, Papa John's reported a sales growth of 23.8% through the end of September. The company is hoping that adding more locations will help sales continue to climb against competitors like Domino's and Pizza Hut.

"We are still outnumbered by our key competition—for me, that is something very exciting. There's a huge runway for our existing franchisees in the system and new franchisees that want the opportunity for growth," said Amanda Clark, Papa John's chief development officer.

The chain owes its success to its strong delivery business, as well as fan-favorite items like the pizza sandwich mashup Papadias. But Papa John's raised some eyebrows earlier this fall when they introduced the Super Hawaiian Pizza to their menu, laden with a highly polarizing topping—pineapple. It may just be their clever way of avoiding another national pepperoni shortage.

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Mura Dominko
Mura Dominko is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!. Read more