There’s a new player in the pizza business on the Polish market. And it’s the internationally recognized Louisville-based Papa John’s that over 33 years since its inception has grown into a 5,000-strong restaurant chain present in 44 countries. WBJ talked to Chris Wynne, co-owner and general director of PJ Western about the firm’s expansion plans
Interview by Beata Socha
WBJ: Why did Papa John’s decide to come to Poland, and why now?
Chris Wynne: This is a great time for our expansion into the Polish market, which is still growing. An important factor is also that Poles love pizza – 81 percent of them eat it according to Rynek Gastronomiczny 2017 report. The franchise business in Poland is very popular, particularly
among small family businesses. Despite the strong competition on the gastronomy market, the demand for these services will grow dynamically; according to market analysts, more and more Poles prefer
to go out or order food deliveries. We are sure that the pizza business in Poland has good potential for growth due to the increasingly busy consumer lifestyle. Home deliveries of pizza are now
ordered by approximately 24 percent of Poles and we intend to improve these statistics by showing what “Better Ingredients. Better Pizza” is. Also, we plan to increase clients’ awareness of our online ordering system which makes the pizza delivery process quick and easy.
John Schnatter, the founder of Papa John’s, built the company from scratch in the 1980s. What’s the story behind it?
Papa John’s is an illustration of the true American dream. The legendary John Schnatter, founder of Papa John’s, made his first pizza in 1984. At the age of 15 he started working at a local pizzeria where he went through all the levels of experience – from washing dishes to baking pizza. He later used his experience in quite unusual circumstances, when it came to saving his father’s business. He sold his beloved car – Chevrolet Camaro Z28, and with the money he bought used equipment and in the back of the bankrupt bar he began baking pizza using his own recipe. In 1985, he opened Papa John’s first restaurant in Jeffersonville, Indiana. He not only saved his family business but also realized his longstanding dream of creating a pizzeria network where the quality of the products is crucial.
How many restaurants do you expect to launch in the first year? What are your long-term plans for Poland?
We plan to actively develop our chain in the territory of Poland for more people to have a chance to taste better pizza. We are going to open at least eight stores next year – first covering the city of Warsaw.
Then we would like to move forward into other cities in Poland. During the next two years, we plan to open over 20 stores across the country. The Polish market has great potential, so we don’t want to limit
our development plans by announcing the exact number of stores now.
What would you say your main competition is here in Poland? Other franchise chains or local pizzerias?
Papa John’s is the recognized leader in the pizza category. We now own more than 5,000 stores in 45 countries around the world. There is always competition and it indicates the demand for pizza on
the market. Papa John’s invests more than many others in the industry to consistently deliver superior pizza and superior service. We don’t use cheap, hard processed ingredients. Whether it’s our signature sauce, toppings, our original fresh dough or even the box itself, we invest in our ingredients to ensure that we always deliver the finest quality pizza.
The Papa John’s brand is indeed seen as higher quality than other international franchises. Where do you see your brand’s position in the market regarding price and quality?
Papa John’s is the recognized leader in the pizza category in terms of quality. According to the 2017 American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), Papa John’s ranked first among QSR-pizza brands in
customer satisfaction and product quality. This year’s recognition marks the 16th time out of the last 18 years that the Louisville-based pizza chain has led the pizza industry in overall customer satisfaction.
The 16th #1 ACSI ranking is unprecedented in the restaurant category and reinforces Papa John’s category leadership in quality. Additionally, Papa John’s was selected as Pizza Chain Brand of the Year in the 2017 Harris Poll EquiTrend Rankings.