Papa Johns Epic Dough redesign includes modern finishes and colors. With a refreshed logo and look, the legacy brand is entering a new era.
In November 2020, during the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic, pizza chain Papa Johns made a big decision: it was time for a redesign. With new colors, smooth textures and an open kitchen called the Dough Show, Papa Johns’ Epic Dough store overhaul was indicative of the brand’s overall new look — it had already redesigned its logo and this restaurant overhaul would usher in a fresh new era for the pizza brand.
Jennifer P. Striepling, Papa Johns’ vice president of global design and construction
The goal during the redesign was not to disrupt operations during construction. Construction workers couldn’t touch the front of the house without impacting the back of the house, so completing the redesign was a fine dance involving coordination by multiple departments: design; operations; construction; marketing and franchisees.
Papa Johns has 3,380 stores in the U.S. and Canada (and 5,500-plus in total) and the redesign is taking place in a phased approach, beginning with corporate stores. We spoke with Jennifer P. Striepling, Papa Johns’ vice president of global design and construction, to learn more about the redesign and how it’s freshening up the legacy pizza brand.
Q: Papa Johns’ system had never truly had a remodel. What was the impetus behind it?
A:In conjunction with the new logo, the leadership team wanted to create an enhanced visual identity, showcasing our fresh ingredients and our key item, our dough.
Q:What elements make this redesign unique?
A:Our new Epic Dough design is unique as it speaks to our fresh ingredients through our color palette and the textures throughout the space. The color palette ties in the red of the tomatoes, green basil through the board-and-batten wall, our signature garlic sauce through imagery (and) the warmth of the oven that is placed in the heart of our kitchen with touches of warm wood elements such as our pizza peel light fixtures. We have an open kitchen where you can see the Dough Show. Guests can see the team craft each individual pizza.
Q:Drive-thru pick-up windows are a hallmark of the redesign as a result of the pandemic. Why were those added and what do they bring to the table? How big is pick-up to the brand?
A:The drive-up pick-up windows are added (as allowed per site) to create additional convenience for our guests. For example, If you have hungry children on the way home from school or sports practice, you can drive up and pick up your order.
Q:You’re rolling out this redesign to corporates stores and giving franchisees the chance to test it. How has the redesign been received by franchisees?
A:The design has been well received by the franchise community. The new design achieves the elevated freshness that defines the brand. We have partnered with vendors utilizing the number of units we have across the brand to negotiate pricing and availability to help reduce downtime in the buildout or remodel process.
Q:Papa John’s International restaurants have also rolled out a redesign. How does it compare to the U.S. redesign?
A:The international design, Share a Slice, has common themes but is wholistically different. Our Guest experience and expectations are different in our international markets as we have dining, we are in mall complexes or within an urban setting with heavy foot traffic.
Q:What were the challenges with this redesign and how did the brand overcome those?
A:The design development was a collaboration between design, operations, construction, marketing and our franchisees, to name a few. One of the goals was to create efficiencies for operations and, in the case of remodels, complete the work as efficiently as possible to reduce downtime. The general contractors have their pick of work and very few want to work at night as they did once upon a time. This challenges the design and construction team on finish selections and applications to create a design that can be implemented as quick as possible without sacrificing quality.
Q:Having gone through this redesign, what can other brands learn from Papa John’s having been through this?
A: Utilizing permit expeditors. They have existing, long standing relationships with city and state plan reviewers and inspectors. This allows the construction documents and onsite inspections to move efficiently through the process.
Also, negotiating multiple projects with architects and general contractors. This assisted in cost savings, guaranteeing their work schedule over several months. (We also) created efficiencies by repetitive learning of our process and construction documents by utilizing the same team on multiple projects.
Order in bulk (such as) finishes, artwork, equipment etc. This ensures all the items you need are ready to be installed and isn’t holding up project progress.
Mandy Wolf Detwiler is the managing editor at Networld Media Group and the site editor for PizzaMarketplace.com and QSRweb.com. She has more than 20 years’ experience covering food, people and places.
An award-winning print journalist, Mandy brings more than 20 years’ experience to Networld Media Group. She has spent nearly two decades covering the pizza industry, from independent pizzerias to multi-unit chains and every size business in between. Mandy has been featured on the Food Network and has won numerous awards for her coverage of the restaurant industry. She has an insatiable appetite for learning, and can tell you where to find the best slices in the country after spending 15 years traveling and eating pizza for a living.