Post Number: 703
|Posted on Friday, April 06, 2007 - 9:23 am: || |
DETROIT -- A group of local investors plans to slice into the local pizza market with the opening of 30 Papa John's restaurants in Metro Detroit within five years, creating 1,000 local jobs.
The Detroit-based Alpha Restaurant Group, a coalition of local business people, said most of the stores will be in Detroit. The first two Papa John's will open by June, one at Cass and Canfield near Wayne State University, and another at Seven Mile and Livernois.
The total projected expansion will cost $35 million.
Unlike most of Papa John's franchises, Alpha Group entered a partnership deal with Papa John's, which means the Kentucky-based pizza maker will have a stake in the venture. Papa John's is the third largest player in the pizza industry, behind Pizza Hut and Domino's.
"We're only the third partnership they've made and the first with a minority business," Alpha Chairman Paul Hubbard said of Papa John's. "We are group of individuals who are committed to giving back to Detroit."
Currently Papa John's has no restaurants in Detroit and only a handful in the suburbs.
Papa John's Founder and Chairman John Schnatter said he knows he's entering a highly competitive pizza market -- one where national pizza chains Domino's and Little Caesars are based.
"Detroit is the type of market where you need to have the right team on the ground, and we think we have that," he said. "We don't do these partnerships often, but in a tougher market we felt obligated to show we'd keep up our end of the bargain."
The expansion in Detroit comes as Papa John's is adding 250 stores worldwide to its current 3,000. While other national chains have shied away from Detroit, Schnatter says his "fresher ingredients, fresher pizza" plays well in markets worldwide. "We'll do well in Detroit; we do well in any market with the right demographics," he said. "We're successful in Shanghai and we're successful in lower Manhattan."
The partnership agreement was signed at Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's office. Through spokesman Matt Allen, the mayor praised the investment.
"This is a tremendous opportunity for minority-owned franchises in the city of Detroit and our market," Allen said. "This will create jobs and foster entrepreneurship as we try to diversify our economy."
http://www.detnews.com/apps/pb cs.dll/article?AID=/20070406/B IZ/704060361