Papa John’s signs historic deal to dramatically expand footprint in China

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

Papa John's has signed a partnership with FountainVest Partners to significant expand its presence in China, the world's fastest-growing pizza delivery market. Pic: GettyImages/email2ying
Papa John's has signed a partnership with FountainVest Partners to significant expand its presence in China, the world's fastest-growing pizza delivery market. Pic: GettyImages/email2ying

Related tags: Papa John's, FountainVest Partners, Pizza, China, Papa John's International

Papa John’s International has partnered with one of Asia’s leading independent private equity firms to open more than 1,350 new stores across South China by 2040.

The franchisee development agreement with FountainVest Partners is the biggest in Papa John’s history and the largest master franchise deal announced in the pizza industry in recent years. China is one of the world’s fastest-growing pizza delivery markets.

FountainVest has also purchased a majority stake in Papa John’s franchisee CFB Group, which operates 160 restaurants in Shanghai and across southern China. The new partner will add impetus to the brand, following a raft of major international and domestic development deals last year, accelerating store openings across all markets, continued innovation and strong comparable sales growth globally.

Through the first three quarters of 2021, Papa John’s sustained strong momentum from the prior year, delivering nine quarters of positive sales growth and significantly accelerating unit growth. Similarly, strong unit economics attracted franchisees to sign new and expanded development agreements with the brand. Papa John’s has recently expanded into 15 new countries, including Spain, Portugal, Germany, Cambodia, Pakistan, France and Poland.

Scaling up the brand

“This partnership with FountainVest marks another major milestone in achieving Papa John’s global growth potential, reflecting both the scale of our brand’s global opportunity and the quality of franchisees that are investing in our future,”​ said Rob Lynch, president and CEO of Papa John’s.

“Papa John’s has enormous global development whitespace in the US and in attractive growth markets, especially relative to our peers. Our new development agreement with FountainVest alone stands to grow Papa John’s current global unit count by 25%.”

Since founding in 2007, FountainVest has focused on investing in businesses that benefit from the rising aspirations of the expanding Chinese middle class.

“Our investment process begins by identifying growth-oriented, industry-leading enterprises that are aligned with the growth dynamics of the Chinese marketplace,”​ said FountainVest’s MD Andrew Huang.

“Papa John’s premium position offers an attractive opportunity in the QSR sector, which has already been proven in China and which we believe will continue to thrive. We look forward to working with the Papa John’s team as we rapidly scale the brand’s presence across China.”

Promising outlook

Papa John’s chief development officer Amanda Clark added, “FountainVest is exactly the kind of partner we look to help grow our brand internationally. They are well-capitalised, experienced operators with deep knowledge of their local market.

“They clearly recognise our brand’s promising outlook and strong unit economics. Together, we will bring our ‘Better ingredients. Better pizza.’ promise to millions of new customers in one of the largest QSR markets in the world.”

Kentucky-headquartered Papa John’s International opened its doors in 1984 and today, is the world’s their-largest pizza delivery company with more than 5,500 outlets in 50 countries. The company believes using only high quality ingredients leads to superior quality pizzas, and as such, its original dough is made of only six ingredients and is fresh, never frozen. Its pizzas are topped with real mozzarella and its sauce is made with vine-ripened tomatoes. It was the first national pizza delivery chain to announce the removal of artificial flavours and synthetic colours from its menu.

Related topics: Ingredients, Bread, Manufacturers, Markets

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