Papa John's attributes some of its recent success to new menu items like the Papadia.

A Once-Struggling Pizza Chain Keeps Setting New Same-Store Sales Records

Same-store sales rocketed by 33.5 percent for Papa John’s in May, marking the second straight month of historic sales for the once-beleaguered chain. And their top-ranked rival, Domino’s, can’t complain either, with 14 percent growth in same-store sales during the first two months of the second quarter.

“In May, for the second straight month, Papa John’s team members and franchisees delivered the best sales period in the company’s history,” CEO Rob Lynch said in a press release.

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“We entered the pandemic with strong growth and momentum and are fortunate that our delivery and carryout model has enabled us to meet an essential need for high-quality food, safely delivered to consumers’ homes,” Lynch said.

Lynch noted that contactless delivery and a new lunch item, the Papadia, have helped drive increased sales.

Papa John’s same-store sales for North America climbed 33.5 percent in May and 26.9 percent in April.

Domino’s, meanwhile, saw its same-store sales grow by 20.9 percent from April 20 to May 17, the company announced. In the previous four weeks, its sales had grown by 7.1 percent.

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“We are seeing a tailwind as consumer behavior across the restaurant industry has shifted toward delivery and carryout, though we are not sure whether this trend will continue for the remainder of the second quarter or how long this tailwind may last,” said Domino’s CEO Ritch Allison in a statement.

Nearly all states now allow restaurants to offer some form of limited dine-in service, which could impact pizza chain sales. However, many health experts have predicted that relaxing restrictions on restaurants and other businesses will lead to a resurgence in the coronavirus and ultimately worsen the pandemic.

Other chains have also fared well during the pandemic. Marco’s Pizza, the sixth largest pizza chain in the U.S., has seen its year-over-year sales climb by 20 percent system-wide, QSR Magazine reports. The company has seen growth of 40 to 50 percent in some markets.

“We immediately went out and started providing value because we knew that was going to be essential,” Marco’s president and COO Tony Libardi told QSR. “We started hammering that right away, telling folks, ‘We understand your fear and anxiety, and we’re going to do everything we can to mitigate those anxieties, to get what we perceive to be the best pizza in the industry to you fresh, hot and safely,’ and that began to really resonate with consumers.”