Papa Johns CEO Rob Lynch calls it the chain’s “biggest innovation ever”: the new Doritos Cool Ranch Papadia. The flatbread-style sandwich item has debuted on Papa Johns’ menu as the company reported flat same-store sales for the first quarter of 2023, following a robust performance throughout the previous year.

With a crust coated in Doritos Cool Ranch seasoning, the latest version of the Papadia, which became available on May 4, can be ordered with chicken, beef, steak or other fillings and comes with a side order of Cool Ranch dipping sauce. Part of a partnership with PepsiCo Foodservice, it delivers “the ultimate chip and sandwich experience [with] a bold taste in every bite, so delicious you’ll wish you had thought of it first,” said Kimberly Bean, Papa Johns’ vice president of menu strategy and calendar planning, in a press release.

In an interview with Nation’s Restaurant News, Lynch said the Doritos Cool Ranch Papadia is “our biggest innovation ever,” adding that “menu innovation is definitely part of our DNA at this point.”

Writing for, Bailey Fink praised the new menu item. “Let’s be honest, Cool Ranch is arguably the best Doritos flavor, so anything that features that bold flavor is already a win,” Fink wrote.

“As soon as the coating-covered crust and Cool Ranch sauce hits your tongue, you immediately feel like you’re eating a Cool Ranch Dorito—which is only made that much better by dipping it in extra Cool Ranch sauce,” Fink continued. “It has all the traditional flavors you know and love from the Papadia, plus the zesty flavors from your favorite corn chip.”

Papa Johns aims to pull in younger customers with the new item. “We expect this premium innovation will drive both transaction and ticket growth as we target current and new customers,” Lynch said in a May 3 earnings call. “With this launch, we are strategically targeting a younger demographic [of] loyal Doritos consumers. And with a price point of $7.99, it’s a great value.”

Although Papa Johns’ comps lapped those of the first quarter of 2022, that was a big quarter for the company.

“Our North America comparable sales were in line with our record results we achieved a year ago and supported by 3% growth in our domestic company-owned restaurants,” Lynch noted in the earnings call. “In the first quarter, we also opened 59 new restaurants. We are extremely proud of our accomplishments over the last three and a half years.”

“We recognize we are lapping significant comps from 2022 and 2021,” Lynch added. “For the first quarter, our outlook was for flat comps. But that is not our expectations for the year.”

Lynch said that 85% of Papa Johns’ sales now come through digital channels and the chain’s loyalty program boasts nearly 30 million member accounts. “We have a significant data platform that we must utilize to enhance our brand and make the digital experience for our customers better by offering personalization that drives activation.”

Menu innovation has been key to Papa Johns’ growth strategy, as the company keeps adding new specialty items, like the Oreo Papa Bites and the Crispy Parm Pizza. The chain has also added hot lemon pepper wings to its Papa Pairings platform.

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