Papa John’s Pizza

Papa John’s is one of the biggest and fastest growing pizza franchises in the world. The Papa John’s name is known throughout the US, where it can be found in all 50 states and where it sponsors many major events.

Like Domino’s and Pizza Hut, Papa John’s has set its sights on everyone’s favorite Italian dish. The menu is very similar to the aforementioned chains, but there are a few unique twists that help Papa John’s to maintain originality in an industry that is becoming increasingly generic.

Founded: 1984
Headquarters: Kentucky
Locations: 4,700+ (2016)
Employees 20,700+

Papa John’s History

Papa John’s founder, John Schnatter, still leads the company to this day. He appears in many of their ads and his face can be seen in most of their restaurants.

Schnatter set the Papa John’s wheels in motion back in 1983 when he converted a closet in his father’s tavern into a small kitchen. He sold his prized car just so he had enough money to buy a pizza oven, and from there he sold freshly baked pizzas to his father’s patrons.

It was an odd start, to say the least, but it worked. This little closet-cum-kitchen proved to be a huge hit. So much so, in fact, that Schnatter was able to rent an adjoining building in which he built the first full Papa John’s restaurant.

In the years that followed, Papa John’s licensed a number of franchises and the brand grew at a rapid rate. In 2009, “Papa” John Schnatter actually tracked down his old car and bought it back. He paid a quarter of a million dollars for the vehicle, but with Papa John’s generating an annual revenue of more than $1,5 billion dollars, it was a drop in the ocean for the pizza pioneer.

Papa John’s is now a publicly traded company, and Schnatter has retained 25% of the shares.

Papa John’s Menu


A selection of the much-loved Papa John’s Garlic Dipping Sauce. Perfect for pizza, sides and more, this sauce is vegetarian, vegan and suitable for other special diets.

“Papa” John Schannter clearly thinks a lot of his pizza tossing ability, as his hands are insured for more than $15 million. He doesn’t spend much time in the kitchen these days, but Papa John’s servers are still some of the best tossers around (ahem…).

The dough is always produced fresh, as are the ingredients. In fact, in a controversial campaign, Papa John’s announced that their ingredients were fresher than any of their rivals. As you would expect, this annoyed those rivals greatly. So much so, in fact, that Pizza Hut took them to court, only for Papa John’s to get the case scrapped on appeal.

It seems that their ingredients really are fresher, which makes their menu one of the best pizza menus around. You can buy all kinds of pizza, add all kinds of toppings, and pickup all kinds of sides. It’s everything you would expect from a pizza chain, but with a few unique Papa John’s touches here and there.

Papa John’s Secret Menu

The Papa John’s secret menu is not unlike the Pizza Hut secret menu and the Domino’s secret menu, which probably won’t come as a surprise. Pizza restaurant secret menus are often underrated and even dismissed altogether. But there is a lot to discover here.

These restaurants are happy to make anything to order. If they can make it, you can order it. Add that to the fact that they are always trying to outdo each other and you have the perfect recipe for secret menu success.

So, be sure to read our Papa John’s secret menu. You might just discover a new favorite on a menu that you thought you knew like the back of your hand.

Papa John’s Nutrition and Calories

Papa John’s have tried their best to eliminate the use of artificial ingredients. They also cater for many special diets, with plenty of options for vegetarians and even for vegans.

All Papa John’s crusts are 100% vegan, unlike many other pizza chains. As a result, you can order a pizza without meat and without cheese and it’ll be vegan. Believe it or not, their garlic dipping sauce is also vegan. So, pickup an order of a vegetable pizza without the cheese, grab a tub of Garlic Dipping Sauce and indulge in the ultimate vegan pizza.

Papa John’s also have options if you’re trying to cut calories. Pizza isn’t the healthiest food in the world, of course. But there are healthier options. If you go light on the crust and the cheese, if you add vegetables and mushrooms instead of meat, then you might be surprised by the nutrition content. And by the taste!

Checkout our guide for more Papa John’s nutrition info. This is updated with all kinds of standard menu and secret menu items, displaying calories, fat and more for each.

Papa John’s Menu Prices


A spicy pizza from Papa John’s, loaded with hot peppers.

Papa John’s menu pricesare in line with their competitors. Occasional sales, meal deals and holiday specials reduce these further. But even without these, you can still get a sizeable pizza for a respectable price.

All prices vary depending on the location. But as an example of what you can expect, a small cheese pizza costs $8, while an extra large “The Works”, which is one of the biggest pizzas on the menu, costs $19.

The size of the pizza dictates the price more than the toppings, and you can add more toppings as well. Papa John’s also offers a selection of sides, from Garlic Knots at $5 for 8 pieces, to a 50 piece bucket of Barbecue Wings, which costs just under $40.

Desserts cost between $5 and $7 and all sauces can be purchased for $0.75. If you want an extra topping of crushed red pepper or shaved parmesan cheese, it’s free. You just need to ask.

Papa John’s Location


An ad for a spicy Papa John’s pizza in Colombia.

Since opening their first restaurant in 1984, the Papa John’s brand spread like wildfire across North America. Today there are Papa John’s locations in all 50 US states, as well as over 35 countries.

In total, there are 4,700 locations and growing, and thanks to their pioneering using of online ordering, the Papa John’s brand outperforms their competitors in many countries worldwide. Some countries where they have a substantial presence include the United Kingdom.

Papa John’s opened its first UK location in 2001. In just over a decade they had over 300 locations. What’s more, that number is set to be eclipsed in just a few years as Papa John’s have announced plans to open hundreds of more restaurants. This will allow them to compete more directly with both Domino’s and Pizza Hut, both of which currently have a stronger presence in the UK.

Where is Papa John’s?

There are nearly 5,000 Papa John’s locations across the world, so there should be one near you, regardless of where you live. They are actually the third largest pizza chain in the United States and while this is where they are at their strongest (by quite some way) it is likely that they will follow in the footsteps of the chains at number 1 and 2 on that list and spread their brand around the world.

Papa John’s Careers


A loaded Papa John’s meat pizza complete with Garlic Dipping Sauce.

If you want to make pizza for a living, then see if your local Papa John’s are hiring. With so many locations in so many states and countries, there are always jobs available. And because fast food chains have issues with employee retention (on account of the fact they pay close to minimum wage, expect long hours and hire young workers) they tend to value loyal employees who work hard.

In the United States, the average wage for a Papa John’s driver is around $7.50 an hour. Shift managers can expect to make in excess of $10 an hour whereas managers can make as much as $25 an hour. It’s not unheard of for drivers and cooks to work their way up to the top. In fact, chain restaurants like this prefer to hire managers who have experience in their restaurants.

So, while you have to start at the bottom, there could be a good career in it for you if you stick at it. You never know, if you work at Papa John’s for long enough, you might be able to take the CEO’s job. At more than $1,5 million a year, the CEO’s salary puts the manager salary to shame. Although, he did create the chain, so he probably deserves it. And he’s probably not going to move aside anytime soon.

Does Papa John’s Drug Test?

This is a common concern with fast food workers. Probably because they are teenagers or young adults, and because they do the things that most teenagers and young adults do. But there is no need to worry. Very few companies will actually drug test, and when you enter the fast food industry, where margins are low, then it’s even more unlikely. After all, it would cause them too much stress and cost them too much money.

Of course, this is a franchise, so it’s possible that some of the franchisees have taken it upon themselves to drug test their employees. But this is unlikely and it’s not something that we can imagine the company getting behind or supporting in any way.

Papa John’s Store Hours

Papa John’s is typically open from 10:00am through to 11:00pm on Monday to Friday. However, it may be closed during certain holidays, and the hours also vary depending on the location of the store.

What Time Does Papa John’s Open?

Papa John’s tends to open quite early, often at around 10:00am, which allows them to prepare for a lunchtime rush. They do most of their business in the evening though, so it’s not unusual for some stores to miss lunch and to simply prepare for dinner.

What Time Does Papa John’s Close?

Most Papa John’s locations are open for 7 days a week and they tend to remain open until the early hours of the morning. The earliest that most stores close is 11:00am, but the majority seem to remain open until 2:00am.

Date Modified - December 4, 2017