For Papa Murphy’s, the Vancouver-based, top-ranked take ‘n’ bake pizza chain, being purposefully simple has always been a way of life.
Their locations are small and efficient and economical, with most of the reduced square footage dedicated to pizza creation. With no in-store baking and use of fresh ingredients, the lack of ovens and freezers cuts clutter mess and lowers complexity in the kitchen. Because they don’t deliver, shorter hours keep labor costs down. And the low overhead allows Papa Murphy’s to offer its signature products with much greater value than competitors’ hotlukewarm, straight-out-of-the-oven backseat delivery pizza.
This organizational simplicity has allowed the brand to perfect the one thing that matters most—their pizza. Papa Murphy’s is able to invest in quality ingredients, allowing them to make a fresher and better pizza in comparison to some of the biggest names in the business. And its take ‘n’ bake concept, in which customers personalize their fresh pizza with toppings in the store and bake the pizza at home, lends itself to a customer-first mentality in all Papa Murphy’s does: Families get the exact pizza they want exactly when they want it.
All told, Papa Murphy’s practical concept is one that works. Today, the brand has more than 1,500 550 locations in 38 states, making it the fifth-largest pizza chain in the United States. It’s also the largest take-and-bake pizza chain in the country by far—the nearest competitor, Figaro’s Pizza, has fewer than 50 locations. And that’s due, in large part, to the fact that Papa Murphy’s simple business model makes it easy for franchisees to embark on multi-unit ownership.
“Because we operate more like a small-scale specialty grocery store, we don’t require superior restaurant operating skills. There are no fryers or ovens and there’s very limited clean up. This means a lower investment, a lower break-even point and lower complexity,” said Jayson Tipp, the Papa Murphy’s Chief Development Officer and Vice President of Technology for Papa Murphy’s.
The inception of Papa Murphy’s dates back to 1985, when Papa Aldo’s Pizza and Murphy’s Pizza merged into a single brand. The idea spurring the new business was a humble one: Sell fresh, hand-crafted pizzas that customers took take home and cooked themselves. That strategydifferentiation, though somewhat unfamiliarunconventional at the time, worked, and within a few years, the brand had grown to 500 locations. Papa Murphy’s take-and- ‘n’ bake model emerged as a popular option for busy consumers hunting a hot, customizable meal for their families.
“Because we can position ourselves as something that’s different from a restaurant in a very distinct and clear way, it differentiates our brand in the mind of someone looking to invest. Everyone wants to be a part of a concept that they think will grow, and people quickly saw see that Papa Murphy’s was is very different from the other pizza places out there,” Tipp said. “Our concept is simple. Our food is fresh. And that will continue to work for us.”