A chain where business is all about mums was just named the best pizza restaurant in America.
Papa Murphy’s ranks as America’s favourite pizza chain, according to Market Force Information’s annual quick service restaurant study.
This is the third year in a row that Papa Murphy’s has snagged the top spot — despite the fact that its sales are nowhere near Papa John’s, Domino’s, or Pizza Hut.
Unlike the biggest names in the pizza business, Papa Murphy’s doesn’t sell pizza piping hot and ready to be eaten.
Instead, the pies are never baked — restaurants don’t even have ovens or freezers. Customers buy a raw pie, to be baked at home.
Papa Murphy’s has more than 1,500 locations in 38 states, as well as restaurants in Canada and the United Arab Emirates, making it the fifth-largest pizza chain in the US. It is by far the largest take-and-bake pizza chain in the country — the nearest competitor, Figaro’s Pizza, has fewer than 50 locations.
While chains like Domino’s or Papa John’s appeal to younger, mostly male customers who are hungry for delivery pizza, Papa Murphy’s is focused on marketing to families, something that pays off when it comes to finding loyal customers.
In addition to being named the No. 1 pizza chain by Market Force, ‘Consumer Reports’ and ‘Nation’s Restaurant News’ have also ranked Papa Murphy’s as the top pizza restaurant chain in the U.S.
“Young males are not loyal. So a young male typically will love you today, and then when the next pizza place says they can charge nine bucks for that versus 10, they will go for that,” CEO Ken Calwell told Entrepreneur.com. “Mums are hard to get, but mums are really loyal.”
In an effort to appeal to families, Papa Murphy’s markets its pizzas as healthier options than the delivery-centric competition. The chain has lower-calorie options on the ‘Gourmet Delite’ menu, cutting calories by serving up pizzas with thin crusts.
On the other side of the calorie spectrum is Papa Murphy’s “stuffed” menu, with sandwich-esque pizzas like Chicken Bacon Stuffed, with one layer of creamy garlic sauce, chicken, bacon, tomatoes, and mixed onions topped with another layer of tomatoes, bacon, provolone, and cheddar.
The menu is completely customisable. The ‘Create Your Own’ platform lets customers pick their own dough, sauce, and toppings combinations.
Another much-loved aspect of the menu is the desserts, especially the chocolate chip cookie dough and the S’Mores Pizza, which is a (cheese-less) pizza covered with chocolate chips and marsh mellows.
Papa Murphy’s heritage draws from two take-and-bake pizza chains: Papa Aldo’s Pizza, founded in 1981, and Murphy’s Pizza, founded in 1984. In 1995, the two chains merged, forming Papa Murphy’s.
While the majority of the company’s locations are on the west coast, the chain is currently making a major expansion push. Recently, Papa Murphy’s announced plans to open 15 locations in Hawaii, with the first restaurant opening later this year.
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