- Papa Johns will launch a new menu category for its brand, Papa Bowls, on Aug. 15 for loyalty members and Aug. 22 for all customers, the chain announced Monday.
- These bowls, which will cost $7.99, are made out of toppings like vegetables, meats, cheeses and sauces. Diners can customize the bowls or choose from three signature variations: Italian Meats Trio, Chicken Alfredo or Garden Veggie.
- Papa Bowls are part of the chain’s ongoing product innovation strategy, which was developed under CEO Rob Lynch, to create new items that are supply-chain-friendly.
Premium menu innovations are contributing to positive comp sales growth at Papa Johns’ North American business, which saw a 1% uptick in comp sales during Q2 2022 and 34% over a three-year stack, Lynch said during the company’s Q2 earnings call.
The chain’s Epic Pepperoni-Stuffed Crust Pizza, which was launched in April, is driving some of its highest percentages of interest among customer to repurchase, Lynch said. Papa Bowls will be the company’s third product release this year, according to the press release. These new menu item follow successful menu iterations including Papadias and the 2020 launch of the Epic Stuffed Crust line.
“We're also excited about our innovation pipeline for the second half of the year, as we balance the introduction of new innovations with bringing back fan favorites,” Lynch said.
Papa Bowls, much like Papadias, is expected to appeal to customers who want items other than pizza while also leveraging its premium ingredients, the company said in an email to Restaurant Dive.
Tests of Papa Bowls did well across markets in Oklahoma, Georgia, Ohio, Maryland, Illinois, Louisiana and Texas, according to a July 19 report from BTIG emailed to Restaurant Dive.
Franchisees are also excited about Papa Bowls because of the menu item’s “operational simplicity as the product is cooked at the same temperature and speed as other items,” BTIG analysts wrote.
The pizza chain is seeing increased food basket costs, which were up 18% in Q2 largely due to rising cheese prices, CFO Ann Gugino said. Papa Johns’ labor costs were also high during the period.
However, alongside year-to-date price increases of 7% to 8%, premium priced menu innovations are helping the company partially offset rising costs, Lynch said. Wheat prices are also expected to remain elevated, Gugino said, and Papa Bowls could help reduce cost per order since it doesn’t use any dough.