The new CEO of Papa John’s, Rob Lynch of Arby’s and Inspire Brands fame, is charting a different course than arch pizza rival Domino’s by stepping into third-party delivery and—hopefully—out of the dark shadow cast by company founder John Schnatter’s racist language.
In a televised interview with CNBC last week, Lynch said the current disruptions from technology and delivery in the restaurant industry are an opportunity as the brand looks to get back to the business of growing.
“The customers have spoken. These apps are growing really rapidly because the customers want these services,” Lynch said to CNBC. “So, yes, they have had an impact on our industry, an impact on our business, but we believe that’s because we haven’t worked strategically with them. We don’t think it needs to be that way.”
He added that it would continue offering delivery through its own in-house app, which he said remains Papa John’s fastest growing sales channel. Back in March, Papa John’s announced a partnership with DoorDash to bring third-party delivery to nearly 1,500 of its locations in the United States after months of testing. The interview noted that Lynch is meeting with other third-party “aggregation companies.”
This new strategy is in contrast to Domino’s, which has long been considered among the most innovative mega restaurant brands and has seen many years of industry-beating growth in sales and locations. Domino’s has avoided launching any big third-party delivery programs, and continues to focus on its own pool of delivery drivers.
Some restaurant analysts have grown more pessimistic about Domino’s future prospects as more restaurant brands, including Panera, begin working with third-party delivery partners. An increase in available at-home delivery choices has also been a factor, as pizza and Chinese foods are no longer the dominant delivery options.
Papa John’s is the 40th largest U.S.-based franchise by global sales, according to FOD sister publication Franchise Times. The latest year-end stats put the company at $3.65 billion in sales and more than 5,300 locations across the globe.