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Trending this week: Papa John’s CEO Rob Lynch on the largest U.S. franchise deal in the company’s history

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Papa John’s International, Inc. announced Wednesday a 100-store development deal across Texas through 2029 in partnership with franchisee operator, Sun Holdings, Inc. This is the company’s largest U.S. franchise deal in its history.

“We’ve had some big wins over the past 6-8 months, and now this is the first major franchisee that has come into our system, which really lends credibility to the model we’re building,” Papa John’s CEO Rob Lynch told Nation’s Restaurant News. “Guillermo [Perales, founder of Sun Holdings] loves the unit economics, the low investment level, especially relative to traditional drive thru QSR with similar AUVS. He came into our company with the intention to build rapidly.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced restaurant operators to accelerate their technology investments, which in turn is now helping them operate more efficiently and improve service amid an ongoing labor crunch.

“Technology is there, hopefully, to facilitate an interaction between people,” said Khalilah Cooper, senior director of service and hospitality at Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A. “If we can take tasks off of our team members to allow them to give that warm welcome, a genuine smile to the guest, that’s what we are going to lean into.”

To check out what else happened this past week, click through the gallery to see what was trending on Nation's Restaurant News.  

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