Papa John’s International Inc. signage is displayed on top of a delivery vehicle outside of the company’s restaurant in Nashville, Tennessee.

Luke Sharrett | Bloomberg | Getty Images

With consumers flocking to carryout and delivery during the Covid pandemic, Papa John’s has extended its growth streak into August.

From July 27 through Aug. 23, preliminary estimated North American systemwide same-store sales rose 24.2%, while preliminary estimates show international systemwide comparable sales gained 23.3%, the pizza chain said Tuesday. 

Papa John’s previously reported North American systemwide sales growth of 28% in the second quarter, which ended June 28, and 5.3% growth internationally. May was the best month in the company’s history, with same-store sales up 33.5%. Preliminary results showed same-store sales, a key industry metric, rose more than 30% in July. 

The company had a mixed quarter with revenue coming in slightly below where analysts expected, but overall sales have remained strong even as restaurants have begun to reopen in certain cities and states around the country for on-premise dining.

“Papa John’s sales, driven by product innovation, remained strong in August. As we have added new customers throughout 2020, our customer satisfaction and brand affinity scores also continue rising. Our international business gained further momentum in August too and continues to improve as more countries across the globe open back up for business,” CEO Rob Lynch said in a statement.

The company said that nearly all traditional restaurants are open and fully operational in North America. Of some 2,100 international franchised stores, 150 or so are closed in Latin America and Europe in accordance with government policies.

Papa John’s is continuing to grow its digital platforms, with 70% of orders coming in digitally and 3 million new customers added in the second quarter. Lynch has focused on menu innovation during his tenure of one year at the helm of the pizza company, adding new items like Papadias sandwiches and Shaq-A-Roni pizza, leading to customers ordering more food throughout the day and dinner.

Like others in fast food, Papa John’s is hiring in big numbers — announcing 30,000 workers would be hired throughout the pandemic to meet demand.

Domino’s last week announced another hiring round of 20,000 workers — bringing its total to 30,000 as well. Chipotle, Dunkin’, McDonald’s and Subway also have said they are hiring itens of thousands of workers to meet changing consumer preferences in this challenging time for the restaurant industry.

Papa John’s stock was up 1.2% in Tuesday’s premarket and have gained 57% year to date, the second-best restaurant stock performer, after Wingstop.

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