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This Mega Popular Pizza Chain Is Opening Dozens of New Locations

The kingdom of Papadias is expanding.
papa johns pi day

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.

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. (Related: 15 Classic American Desserts That Deserve a Comeback.)

Most recently, Papa John's reported a sales growth of 30% in July, and 23% through Aug. 23. While the pizza chain is present in all 50 states and operates almost 5,200 restaurants, the next step for the brand is growing the number of their locations to compete with Pizza Hut's 7,500 and Domino's 17,000 locations.

"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 and the Shaquille O'Neal-branded Shaq-a-Roni, an extra-large pizza covered with extra pepperoni and extra cheese.

The chain recently raised some eyebrows 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