Papa John's U.S. drops Coke for Pepsi

Nov. 10, 2011

PepsiCo Inc. will soon be the exclusive drink of choice at Papa John's International's U.S. restaurants, winning the distribution account from rival Coca-Cola Co.

Coke has been the chain's supplier for 25 years.

Papa John's will start serving Pepsi drinks starting in January at its roughly 3,000 U.S. locations, a Pepsi spokeswoman said Thursday. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

Chris Sternberg, Papa John's spokesperson, said Pepsi's portfolio of drinks, including Mountain Dew, appeal more to the pizza chain's younger, male customers, which was part of the reason for the change.

"That's going to align well for us because we have a heavy usage among 15- to 25-year-old males," Sternberg said.

Coke will remain the supplier to most Papa John's overseas locations. Coke spokesman Scott Williamson said the company does not comment on its customer partnerships.

Founder John Schnatter originally served Pepsi products from the back of his father's bar in Jeffersonville, Ind., where the chain started in 1984. The company switched to Coke two years later.

Beverage Digest, which first reported news of the Papa John's/Pepsi deal, estimated in July that Coke has 70 percent of the U.S. foodservice fountain business, bolstered by its partnerships with McDonald's Corp. and Subway.

Read more about food and beverage.

Topics: Equipment & Supplies , Food & Beverage , Operations Management , Papa John's

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