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.”