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Editor's note: The following information is part of a countdown recap from the inaugural Top 100 Movers and Shakers publication. It was published in the spring of 2012. Some of the information may now be different.
The concept of take-and-bake pizza began with Papa Murphy's in 1981. And as time-crunched families increasingly seek convenient meal opportunities, the positioning of take-and-bake pizza seems stronger than ever. Perhaps that explains why the chain's sales were up a staggering 10 percent in 2011. Its total U.S. systemwide sales grew to $702 million last year, while same-store sales were up more than 5 percent.
"Families are busier than ever before, and they look forward to coming together at the end of the day around a fresh baked Papa Murphy's pizza to relax and reconnect with each other. We have an amazing brand and product and so much opportunity for growth in 2012," said Ken Calwell, CEO, in an internal email to employees and franchisees.
Calwell, a former Wendy's executive, was tapped to lead Papa Murphy's in November 2011. Papa Murphy's is now the fifth-largest pizza company in the U.S. with more than 1,200 stores in 37 states. The Vancouver, Wash.-based chain is still experiencing a growth spurt, having recently signed development agreements in markets such as Kansas City, Mo., Indianapolis, Phoenix and Canada. Franchising agreements signed last year equate to more than 265 future stores and 30 new franchise entity groups.
Additionally, Papa Murphy's has consistently embraced a diverse menu – offering everything from stuffed crust pizzas to deLite offerings and Mini Murph's for the kids. The chain doesn't shy away from innovation; for example, the Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza was launched in February (2011) and is topped with "burger sauce," a blend of ketchup and mustard, as well as mozzarella cheese, ground beef, bacon, onions, Roma tomatoes, dill pickle chips and cheddar.
For the second consecutive year, Papa Murphy's was the "No. 1 Rated Pizza Chain" on Zagat's annual Fast Food Survey. The chain also earned the Franchisee Satisfaction Award in 2009-2010 from Franchise Business Review, and was listed as a Top 100 Food & Beverage Company from 2007-2009 by Inc. magazine.
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