The pizza chain plans to open over 1,350 stores in South China by 2040 in partnership with the Asian private equity firm FountainVest Partners, it said on Friday. The deal will increase Papa Johns current global count by 25%, and marks the largest franchisee development agreement in the pizza company’s history.
Pizza companies have lately been expanding their footsteps in the region, where they see an opportunity to boost sales.
Pizza Hut, for example, opened 103 new stores in China in the third quarter. And Domino’s (DPZ) CEO Ritch Allison said in October that “with each passing quarter, we become even more confident about the long-term growth potential for the Domino’s brand in China.” He noted that in the third quarter of 2021, Chinese locations open at least a year grew sales by a percentage in the double-digits — way better than in the United States, where sales fell in the third quarter.
Late last year, Papa Johns CEO Rob Lynch pointed to China as fertile ground for growth for his company, as well.
Papa Johns has a “huge development opportunity in markets where we already compete, but are much less penetrated,” compared to the competitors, Lynch said at the time. “I would offer China as an example,”
Papa Johns (PZZA) has also been expanding into other regions. In November, the company announced plans to open 60 restaurants in Kenya in Uganda in the coming years along with franchise partner Kitchen Express. Over the summer, it expanded its partnership with its largest franchise, Drake Food Service International, with plans to open 220 restaurants globally, including in the UK and Latin America, by 2025.
The “partnership with FountainVest marks another major milestone in achieving Papa Johns global growth potential,” Lynch said in a statement on Friday.
The move follows a rebrand undertaken by Papa Johns last year, when the company dropped the apostrophe in “Johns” and updated its log and store designs.