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Papa John’s plans to build a new HQ in Atlanta

The pizza chain, which will keep its Louisville, Ky., headquarters, cited the city’s talent pool and airport.
Photograph: Shutterstock

Papa John’s plans to open a new global U.S. headquarters in Atlanta by next summer, where it will move much of its corporate functions as part of a broader company reorganization, the pizza chain said on Thursday.

The company, which will keep its Louisville, Ky., headquarters, expects to choose a location for the new facility by the end of the year.

Papa John’s said the new headquarters will feature menu innovation, marketing, customer experience, human resources, diversity, equity and inclusion, communications and development. The existing headquarters will feature information technology, supply chain and legal. Papa John’s also maintains a headquarters outside of London for its international business.

The company said that it opted to open a second headquarters to get access to Metro Atlanta’s “broader talent pool” as well as its large airport, which makes for easier access to U.S. and international markets.

“Shortly after setting a new strategic direction for Papa John’s late last year, we began to assess the optimal corporate organization to support our restaurants and our brand’s long-term growth,” CEO Rob Lynch said in a statement. “Metro Atlanta’s deep talent pool and its world-class airport connecting us to the domestic and international markets that are key to our brand’s future will accelerate our long-term growth.”

Lynch added that Atlanta is the company’s largest corporate-owned restaurant market. “The Louisville headquarters, Papa John’s home for 36 years, remains essential to the company’s success and we look forward to be a great corporate partner in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.”

The new headquarters makes Papa John’s the latest major restaurant chain to build a new corporate office as part of a transformation strategy. Chipotle Mexican Grill, McDonald’s and the juice chain Jamba have all moved headquarters in recent years, though in their case they were complete moves, rather than the partial move being made by Papa John’s.

Yet Atlanta also houses a number of restaurant chains, including Inspire Brands, Lynch’s previous employer and the owner of Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings and Sonic. Several other brands are based there, too, however, including the chicken sandwich chain Chick-fil-A.

The new headquarters would only be the latest in a series of massive changes at Papa John’s under Lynch, who took over as CEO last year. The company has overhauled its executive team and added Shaquille O’Neal as a company director and spokesman.

UPDATE: This story has been updated to correct the name of Arby's owner. 

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