Papa Johns Will Lead A Massive Restaurant Expansion In India

With more than 5,700 restaurants across 50 countries as of December 2022, Papa Johns is already the third-biggest pizza delivery restaurant in the world, after Domino's and Pizza Hut. Now it's about to get even bigger with newly announced restaurant expansion plans for India.

On April 5, 2023, the 39-year quick-service pizza restaurant with headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, and Louisville, Kentucky, announced it will open 650 new Papa Johns restaurant locations across India by the year, 2033, according to a press release issued by Papa John's International, Inc. together with its partner in this joint venture, PJP Investments Group. Having opened its first Papa Johns-franchised location in 2005 in the United Arab Emirates, PJP is one of Papa Johns' longest-running international franchisees. It currently operates more than 100 Papa Johns restaurants across the Middle East, including in Saudi Arabia and Jordan, and says it plans to be operating nearly 1,000 across the globe within the next 10 years.

Papa Johns' massive Southeast Asian expansion agenda is set to begin with the opening of a first location in Bangalore in 2024, followed by the opening of more Papa Johns locations throughout South India and the eventual expansion into other regions throughout all of India. This venture promises to increase Papa Johns' international market share (currently 5,700 restaurants across 50 international markets) by more than 11%. It also will re-introduce the Papa Johns brand to India, from which the chain has been notably absent for a number of years. 

Why India is an important market for Papa Johns

Papa Johns' massive expansion plans in India actually represent the chain's second foray into the Indian market.  The chain first started opening outlets throughout India in 2011, with its partner and franchisee, Om Pizzas and Eats India Pvt Ltd. At some point, there were as many as 37 Papa Johns locations operating throughout India. However, by 2018, Papa Johns had divested itself of all of them. 

Getting back into the Indian market is seen as important by Papa Johns because of the country's sheer size (its population is second among nations in the world) and because of the growing income and aspirations of India's middle class, according to Papa John's April 5 press release. 

PJP's CEO Tapan Vaidya said, "Building on the success of our partnership with Papa Johns in the Middle East, this expansion of the renowned brand in South Asia will introduce an enormous new customer base to the superior quality pizza that can come only from high-quality ingredients and our fresh, never-frozen original dough."

Moreover, Papa Johns' top two competitors, Domino's and Pizza Hut, the first and second largest pizza chains in the world, are already well-ensconced in the Southeast Asian market. As of 2021, Dominoes had over 1,400 locations in India after a concerted effort to increase their presence there starting in 2006, per Statista. Pizza Hut had at least 500, per a 2021 Pizza Hut press release. If Pizza Hut doesn't keep pace, then by 2033, Papa Johns will have pulled ahead of its rival; although it would still be a far cry from Domino's massive list of Indian locations, Papa Johns could soon secure second place in the Indian pizza restaurant market.