Papa Murphy's

Papa Murphy’s tests delivery with Amazon

Move marks pizza chain’s first foray into delivery

Papa Murphy’s Holdings Inc. is testing delivery at seven restaurants in the Portland, Ore., and Seattle areas with Amazon Restaurants as it seeks to join its pizza competitors while taking advantage of one of the biggest trends in the restaurant industry.

The test marks the Vancouver, Wash.-based chain’s first foray into bringing pizza directly to customers.

“One of our top priorities for 2017 is to become even more convenient for our customers, and adding delivery is a way to help accomplish that objective,” Dan Harmon, Papa Murphy’s senior vice president of operations, said in an email. “We anticipate delivery being a win for our customers and a win for our franchise owners as we refine the implementation with this test.” 

The company is also in talks with other third-party providers to expand the service to other restaurants.

The test is designed to learn how to integrate delivery into Papa Murphy’s daily operations, how the cost structure works with franchisees and customers, and whether customers think delivery is easy, Harmon said.

Executives said the service could work well for Papa Murphy’s because customers bake the pizzas at home, eliminating the fear that delivered pies will get cold on the way.

“Partnering with Amazon Restaurants makes us even more convenient for our customers,” Jean Birch, Papa Murphy’s interim CEO, said in a statement. “Our product is uniquely suited for delivery because, unlike a cooked pizza, it arrives fresh for customers to bake easily at home when it fits their schedule.”

The service is available to Amazon Prime customers, either through one of the company’s mobile apps or on its website. Users can place orders with participating restaurants and track the status of their delivery.

“We are excited to add a beloved brand to our growing selection of restaurant options for Prime members in Portland and Seattle,” Gus Lopez, general manager of Amazon Restaurants, said in a statement. “The service offers Papa Murphy’s the chance to leverage Amazon’s technological expertise in last-mile delivery to get food delivered to customers’ doorsteps in one hour or less.” 

The delivery effort is part of Papa Murphy’s overall strategy to reinvigorate the brand after a difficult stretch of declining sales. Same-store sales fell 7.8 percent in the fourth quarter ended Jan. 2, and dropped 10.9 percent on a two-year basis.

The results led to the departure of CEO Ken Calwell and the elevation of Birch, Papa Murphy’s chairman, to that role on an interim basis.

Papa Murphy’s is hardly the only chain looking at delivery, as more consumers seem willing to pay for the service.

Operators from Panera Bread to Bloomin’ Brands and The Cheesecake Factory are all looking at delivery in some format. McDonald’s also plans to expand delivery across the U.S. this year.

Contact Jonathan Maze at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @jonathanmaze

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