- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 6, 2021

Papa John’s pizza beat Wall Street expectations for the first quarter Thursday even though it is starting to face increased competition from reopened restaurants.

The company, which did a brisk business while people were stuck at home due to COVID-19, pointed to smart strategy, a more inclusive corporate culture and one product in particular: Epic Stuffed Crust pizza.

“It has been a huge success for our system, bringing in a whole new wave of customers, exceeding our expectations and increasing our ticket average, because it’s a premium pizza,” CEO Rob Lynch told CNBC.

Launched in December, Papa John’s says it devised the innovation by stuffing its “never-frozen original dough with melty cheese” and baking it to “a crispy, golden goodness.”

The pizza company reported $511.7 million in revenue versus analyst estimates of $471 million.

Mr. Lynch pointed to sustained growth overseas in addition to the U.S. market.

“There’s a sustained demand for delivery and pizza,” he told CNBC. “We are not a pandemic pizza company. We’ve transformed this business through a lot of hard work and great thinking from people across the system, and we believe we are going to continue to outperform the industry long after the pandemic recedes.”

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