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This Major Pizza Chain Just Signed One of the Biggest Expansion Deals in History

The pandemic has been kind to the quick-service pizza industry. According to Restaurant Business, the major pizza chains positively thrived in the otherwise difficult 2020 with sales increased by hundreds of millions of dollars that year, equaling a 6% year-over-year increase compared to 2019.

That momentum continued in 2021, with everyone from big players like Domino's to smaller ones like MOD Pizza getting a slice of that pie.

RELATED: After Closing a Significant Number of Locations, This Popular Pizza Chain Will Expand Again in 2022

And as some of the clearest evidence yet that pizza sales are predicted to stay strong well into the future, there's the historic expansion deal just announced by Papa Johns. According to QSR Magazine, the chain has signed an agreement to open more than 1,350 stores in South China in the next 20 years.

The deal is the biggest one of its kind in the company's history, and one of the greatest expansion deals ever announced in the pizza restaurant segment as a whole. It will expand the company's footprint by as much as 25%.

Currently, there are about 5,400 Papa Johns restaurants worldwide, 3,080 of which are located in the United States. The China growth plan comes on the heels of another historic announcement from Papa Johns—that it plans to open as many as 100 new restaurants in Texas by 2030, in partnership with Sun Holdings.

The new China deal, made thanks to a partnership between Papa Johns and Hong Kong-based private equity group FountainVest Partners, will extend at least until the year 2040, showing that industry insiders have nothing but confidence in pizza sales staying strong, especially in overseas markets.

Speaking to China's booming appetite for pizza, Stu Levy, the former CFO of the world's largest pizza chain Domino's, recently said: "If you look longer term, we fully expect a market like China, at some point … to be our second-largest market behind the U.S."

Papa Johns has made a great leap forward in cornering much of that market with this 1,350-unit, multi-year plan.

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