- Papa John's International is enacting a brand overhaul spanning its visual identity, logo and store design as it responds to changing mandates in the restaurant category, according to a press release.
- The "Hungry for Better" platform, echoing a long-standing "Better Ingredients. Better Pizza." tagline, introduces a "Better by Design" logo centered on a simple, fun and bold ethos. It draws on the chain's signature red-and-green color scheme while making the asset more clean and distinguishable online and in-person and was created with Su Mathews Hale Design.
- The broader updated visual identity, spearheaded by agency Forpeople, takes inspiration from the pizza chain's ingredients through a new color palette, along with a custom font and "hand-drawn happiness" illustration style mirroring the hand-crafted nature of its food. Forpeople worked with Colophon Foundry on the typography elements. Regarding the retail changes, the QSR teamed with Big Red Rooster on store concepts that better accommodate channels like drive-thru and pickup, a sign that ordering habits solidified by the pandemic will endure.
Papa John's International — the company name retains the apostrophe while the logo drops it — is capitalizing on a winning pandemic sales streak with a wide-ranging brand refresh covering its visual identity and in-store design. Changes aim to modernize the look and operations of the pizza chain while preserving a fun and simple vibe, as well as amplifying its established stake in quality ingredients.
"We are evolving how the Papa Johns experience comes to life across all touchpoints, while remaining true to what got us where we are today and bringing to life our continued aspirations to improve and grow," Max Wetzel, Papa Johns' chief commercial officer, said in a press statement around the news. "This new experience is both a celebration of our tremendous momentum and a vision to inspire future growth."
The move could be interpreted as the most significant step yet to distance the business from founder and namesake John Schnatter, who was ousted amid a series of controversies in 2018. Perhaps tellingly, the new logo drops an apostrophe from "John's," thematically breaking a sense of ownership to a particular person. Papa Johns in recent years has worked closely with other ambassadors to clean up its image, including Shaquille O'Neal, who is a franchise owner and joined the company's board in 2019 along with making appearances in marketing and promotions.
Aspects of the "Hungry for Better" refresh are being rolled out in what Papa Johns described as a gradual "phased approach." Ads previewed in the announcement reinforce thinking around a pared-down presentation. A billboard applying the custom typography — the font is inspired by how the pizza chain's fresh, never-frozen dough moves and stretches — only features a list of ingredients before closing on the copy, "Six simple ingredients. The rest is up to you." and the new logo.
Slicker, streamlined brand and store design is growing common in the restaurant category as companies respond to increased adoption of mobile ordering channels. Burger King kicked off 2021 with its first rebrand in more than 20 years, one that similarly prioritizes digital and minimalist aesthetics. Subway in August also introduced an updated visual identity, store remodels, a revamp of its digital ordering platform and its first direct delivery service.
On the retail front, Papa Johns highlighted a new "Drive-Up Pick Up" model and pickup counters that include a self-service option so customers don't have to wait in line for their pizza. In a bid at improving operational efficiency behind the counter, the brand is integrating modular stations to kitchens that allow the same space to be used by team members for different products at different times.
The brand refresh comes on the tails of Papa John's International's strong third quarter that saw North American comparable sales, a key measure of category health, up 6.9% year-on-year. The company has posted nine consecutive quarters of growth at the global level.