SHANGHAI, April 16 Pizza delivery chain Papa
John's (PZZA.O) plans to add 500 restaurants in China in the next
five years, making the country its biggest market outside the
United States, the company's chief financial officer said on
China, now home to 100 Papa John's restaurants, is expected
to account for more than 20 percent of the company's total
revenue this year, David Flanery told reporters in Shanghai.
"China is a very important market for us and pizza has become
an important part of culture in China," Flanery said.
This year, Papa John's plans to open 40 to 50 restaurants in
China, out of as many as 190 net new outlets planned globally.
Papa John's and U.S. rivals such as Pizzahut and McDonald's
Corp (MCD.N) are targeting China's increasingly affluent
consumers, betting that the country's 200 billion yuan ($28
billion) a year fast-food market can offset stagnant sales at
home and fuel long-term growth.
Papa John's is ramping up expansion mainly through franchises
in China as it seeks to narrow its gap with Yum Brands Inc's
(YUM.N) Pizza Hut in the world's fastest-growing major economy.
Pizzahut, which entered China in 1990 and had a 13 year head
start over Papa John's, directly owns more than 350 restaurants
in the country and is adding about 80 outlets a year.
Yum also owns more than 2,000 KFC restaurants in China, more
than double the 900 McDonald's outlets.
"Initially, Papa John's management had doubts about China.
Now, they are convinced that China is the fastest-growing,
highest-potential pizza market in the world," said Chu Liansheng,
general manager of Papa John's Shanghai.
Papa John's China stores offer dine-in services as well as
delivery, while its U.S. outlets feature take-out and delivery.
The company was founded in 1984 by John Schnatter, the
current chairman, who sold his car to buy restaurant equipment
and began selling pizzas out of his father's tavern in
(Reporting by Samuel Shen; Editing by Edmund Klamann)