Papa John's International Inc. will open its 3,000th store in North America today in suburban Chicago. Founder, chairman and CEO John Schnatter will be on hand for the celebration, which will include a 3,000 slice giveaway this afternoon.
The milestone location is located in Burbank, Ill.
Also to mark the opening, Papa John's will donate 3,000 canned goods to the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana.
"We're really proud of opening our 3,000th North American location, and being the 'Better Ingredients, Better Pizza' company, we wanted to celebrate this milestone by helping better the community through donating food to feed the hungry," Schnatter said. "We're thrilled to be in Chicago and are committed to being a big part of this community."
Schnatter's Chicago appearance will be the most recent in a year of visits to Papa John's locations around the world, which now total nearly 4,000. In the past six months, Schnatter has traveled to Central America, South America, Europe and Asia, as well as throughout North America, to meet with Papa John's franchisees and customers.
Papa John's now has locations in 32 countries on five continents.
"Customers and prospective franchisees continue to put a premium on quality, and that's where Papa John's wins," Schnatter added.
Additional activities at the Chicago celebration will include giveaways sponsored by Coca-Cola, including special edition Coca-Cola mountain bikes. Papa John's also is donating $7,500 to Bears Care, a Chicago Bears nonprofit organization committed to improving the quality of life for people in the Chicagoland community, especially disadvantaged children and their families, and medical research and health awareness programs focusing on breast and ovarian cancer.
Papa John's extends NFL relationship in Canada, UK and Mexico
Papa John's also recently announced it is now the Official Pizza Sponsor of the NFL in Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom.
The multi-year deal expands Papa John's official sponsorship of the NFL and the Super Bowl beyond the borders of the United States. In 2010, Papa John's signed an agreement to be the Official Pizza Sponsor of the NFL and Super Bowls XLV, XLVI and XLVII. That deal was the largest in Papa John's history and includes category exclusivity among delivery and carryout pizza brands.
The official sponsorship with the NFL in Canada, Mexico and the U.K. is effective immediately and includes providing Papa John's category exclusivity and rights to use NFL and team logos and trademarks in marketing and advertising. Papa John's also will be the Official Pizza Sponsor of the NFL's International Series game played annually during the regular season in the U.K.
"The National Football League is growing in these markets, and so is Papa John's, and that makes this deal a win-win-win: for the NFL, Papa John's and our customers," said Andrew Varga, Papa John's chief marketing officer. "Papa John's, our franchises and our customers in the United States have benefitted greatly from our sponsorship of the NFL, and we're confident that expanding our official sponsor status to include Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom will score big for our brand and customers in those countries."
Papa John's currently franchises 53 restaurants throughout Canada, and 49 throughout Mexico, including 18 in Mexico City. Papa John's and its franchisees currently operate 167 Papa John's restaurants in the U.K.
The NFL has steadily grown its fan base in the three countries, which each feature a regular season game. On Oct. 23, Chicago and Tampa Bay played in the fifth annual International Series game at Wembley Stadium in London.
The NFL expanded its commitment to playing regular-season games in the U.K. by approving a resolution authorizing the league to schedule regular-season games there in each of the next five years (2012-2016), including to determine the number of games per season, the venues, and the competing teams.