US Pizza giant to double its UK presence

US pizza giant Papa John’s plans to extend the UK Perfect Pizza chain it acquired for &£20m in November from 205 to 370 outlets and to brand it as Papa John’s.

Papa John’s is the fastest-growing pizza chain in the US with over 2,000 restaurants. Its mud-slinging battle for market share with rival Pizza Hut has been played out in TV and press advertising.

But Papa John’s brand, and its “Better ingredients. Better pizza” strapline is unknown in the UK.

Perfect Pizza marketing director Peter Saunders says rebranding pilot tests will be carried out later this year and confirms: “Ultimately we plan to rebrand all the current stores”.

Saunders says: “The company believes the UK could eventually support 370 Papa John’s stores.”

Pizza Hut has 450 stores in the UK and will open another 60 by the end of 2001.

Perfect Pizza spent &£50,000 on advertising in the UK through Carat last year (AC Nielsen-MEAL), Pizza Hut spent &£8.3m through New PHD.

A Papa John’s advertising branding campaign with “extra investment” will be launched but Saunders says details have not been decided.

The company is about to increase UK marketing staff and US marketing resources will be accessed.

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