Katie Canales/Business InsiderPapa John’s brought some savoury items to the table, but they were no match for Domino’s.
- Domino’s and Papa John’s are two of the biggest pizza chains in the US in terms of retail sales.
- Domino’s is sitting comfortably as the top pizza seller in the world in terms of global retail sales. In 2018, Domino’s had global retail sales of more than $US13.5 billion.
- As for Papa John’s, the company is still reeling from controversies in 2018 surrounding reports that its founder and former CEO John Schnatter used a racial slur during a company call, which resulted in plummeting sales.
- Nevertheless, both chains are still prominent players in the fast food pizza scene.
- But how do they compare?
- We ordered similar popular items from each store and soon discovered why Domino’s has risen in the ranks to become the world’s biggest pizza chain.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
We ordered similar items from each store: a medium pepperoni pizza, …
… a garlic bread side order, …
… an 8-piece order of wings, …
… and a chocolate dessert.
The prices for each menu item we tried were similar between the two chains, except for the pizzas. Each pizza was divided into the standard eight slices …
… and a medium pizza at Papa John’s cost $US3 more than at Domino’s.
Domino’s/Papa John’s/Business InsiderOn the left is the price of a medium pizza at Domino’s and on the right is the price of a medium pizza at Papa John’s.
The dipping sauces were priced similarly — both Domino’s and Papa John’s charged 65¢ for each.
We were able to have our orders delivered from Papa John’s but not Domino’s, which we felt was strange since both chains were in close proximity to each other. Domino’s apparently had a shorter delivery range.
Domino’s/Business InsiderA disclaimer in the Domino’s app alerted us that we couldn’t have our order delivered to our address.
So we ordered carryout at Domino’s and went to pick it up from the store.
Because of that, the bill at Domino’s was just $US42.46 versus $US56.75 at Papa John’s, since there weren’t any delivery costs.
Domino’s/Papa John’s/Business InsiderOn the left is our total from Domino’s and on the right is our total from Papa John’s.
But if we had chosen carryout instead of delivery at Papa John’s, the cost would have been closer to $US47, so Domino’s still would have cost less.
We could still use Domino’s handy tracker though — our order was ready in no time.
There was also a nifty tracker in the Papa John’s app that helped us keep tabs on how far out our order was. It took 25 minutes for our order to be delivered, which is what the tracker estimated.
Finally, our orders were laid out in front of us — and it was time to feast.
First up were the garlic-y side dishes. We ordered Garlic Bread Twists from Domino’s and Garlic Knots from Papa John’s.
Papa John’s garlic bread was good, in a word. The texture of the bread struck a solid balance of doughy and crunchy, but the pizza dipping sauce wasn’t anything too spectacular.
On the other hand, the garlic and marinara dipping sauces from Domino’s (the Garlic Bread Twists come with one sauce free of charge, but we added another for extra) quickly won us over. The marinara specifically was perfectly thick with a hint of rosemary.
And Domino’s garlic twists were a perfect match for it. They were doughy, with a more enticing coating of seasoning.
Both garlic side orders were good, but Domino’s garlic knots were a bit more difficult to stop eating.
Now on to the main course!
We kept it simple with only pepperoni on all of our pizzas, since you can’t go wrong with the topping.
And as it turns out, many Americans feel that way — more than a third of pizzas sold in the US come adorned with pepperoni.
We reached for a slice of Papa John’s pizza first. At first glance, the crust looked fluffy, the pepperoni placement was on point, and the cheese seemed generous …
… but we soon realised that maybe it was a little too much cheese.
Biting into a Papa John’s slice resulted in an overwhelming mouthful of it. The balance of cheese to dough to pepperoni felt off.
Apart from the cheese overload, the pizza was doughy and, for the most part, yummy.
The pizza also came with two dipping sauces: buffalo and garlic, which were both tasty.
And the chain’s signature pepperoncini accompaniment was a nice touch.
But overall, we concluded that we weren’t jumping at the opportunity to order another Papa John’s pizza in the future.
But then we sunk our teeth into Domino’s, which was the culinary equivalent of a breath of fresh air.
It was doughy and yummy, with just the right amount of cheese.
And the crust was exquisite: fluffy yet crunchy and flawlessly toasted.
So Domino’s took home the trophy for this round.
Cheers to that!
We somehow still had enough room to taste test the next category: the wings. We ordered plain boneless wings from Domino’s and unsauced roasted bone-in wings from Papa John’s.
Papa John’s immediately stuck out for its presentation — the wings were nestled snuggly in its foil wrapping within its cardboard box.
They also tasted superb. They looked like they were a bit fatty, but their roasted flavour made up for it.
The wings category was the closest race out of all four courses. Domino’s and Papa John’s wings were neck-and-neck …
… but the reason Domino’s wings were better was because of its distinct smoky flavour.
We would absolutely order wings from both Papa John’s and Domino’s again because both were mouthwateringly tender and delicious, but the wings from Domino’s were just slightly more memorable.
And last but certainly not least, we turned to our chocolate desserts: the Papa John’s Chocolate Chip Cookie and the Domino’s Marbled Cookie Brownie.
Domino’s Marbled Cookie Brownie was good, but nothing that stood out against, say, a bag of brownie mix that you could find at the grocery store and make yourself.
And the same actually goes for the Papa John’s cookie dish. It was good, but it wasn’t anything noteworthy.
But the gooey chocolate chips in Papa John’s cookie cake gave the dish an edge over Domino’s brownie dessert, which was the closest thing to a cookie cake that the chain offers. So Papa Jon’s wins this round.
It was a good way to wrap up our taste test.
In each category, there was a clear winner. The Domino’s garlic twists, pizza, and wings were knock-outs, while the dessert from Papa John’s was hard to ignore.
Ultimately, Papa John’s was no match for Domino’s. The final count — Domino’s: 3 and Papa John’s: 1.
It’s not that all of the Papa John’s items we tried were bad — they just weren’t as good as what Domino’s had to offer.
On top of that, Domino’s cost the least out of the two chains, without sacrificing quality.
It’s easy to see why Domino’s has become the largest pizza seller in the world.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.