Papa Johns International Inc. just announced the latest addition to its menu lineup: Papa Bowls. Papa Bowls — which will be available to loyalty members on Aug. 15 and nationally to all customers on Aug. 22 — are filled with pizza toppings and trimmings sans crust.
The bowls come in microwavable trays with insulated pizza sleeves that allow the product to stay in place without sloshing around. They will be available in three varieties so far, as well as a choose-your-own option where you can pick up to seven toppings:
- Italian Meats Trio (pizza and alfredo sauces layered with pepperoni, sausage, meatballs, green peppers, onions, tomatoes, and three cheeses)
- Chicken Alfredo (alfredo and garlic parmesan sauces, chicken, spinach, mushrooms, onions and tomatoes, three cheese blend and Italian seasoning)
- Garden Veggie (spinach, mushrooms, onions, green peppers, tomatoes and banana peppers topped with classic pizza sauce and garlic parmesan sauce, three cheese blend and Italian seasoning)
“The bowl is a natural extension of the pizza,” Scott Rodriguez, Papa Johns senior vice president of menu strategy and product innovation told Nation’s Restaurant News. “We know how many folks just eat the toppings off a pizza and don't eat the crust. So we innovate around providing an option for them. […] Maybe dad wants a bowl of meatballs and banana peppers instead of pizza with his kids […] We see this as a line extension and overall check-builder.”
The new permanent menu category is smart in more ways than one: Rodriguez said that every single ingredient is already available on the Papa Johns menu, so they did not have to invest in more inventory beyond the tray and sleeve that the bowls come in.
“With [these Papa Bowls] our team member doesn’t have to prepare the fresh dough; they can just grab a tray, fill it up with ingredients and put it in the oven,” Rodriguez said. “You’re eliminating so much time off the pizza-making process, which with everything going on right now with labor and inflation pressures, any little bit of relief we can provide stores is tremendous.”
Papa Bowls joins a lineup of successful menu innovations that Papa Johns has added over the past couple of years, including Epic Stuffed Crust pizza, the Shaq-A-Roni pizza, (which has turned into an annual LTO and will return soon) and the foldable Papadias.
With the new Papa Bowls menu category, Rodriguez and his team can get creative with adding new flavors in the future, including options like breadsticks and dipping sauces to make it an even more creative vehicle for Papa Johns ingredients in crust-free form.
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