Papa Johns Pizza has opened its third restaurant in the Medellín metro area located in Envigado in the La Frontera neighborhood. It is not far from the Euro grocery store in Envigado. I happened to notice this new restaurant recently and stopped for pizza for lunch when in the area.
But Papa Johns is not the only U.S.-based pizza chain expanding in the city. Domino’s also recently added a new restaurant in Sabaneta.
Papa Johns opened its first restaurant in Medellín on September 2015 located in the La Strada mall in El Poblado. It opened its second restaurant last year in El Poblado at Carrera 30 #10C-228. With its new Envigado location, the company now has three restaurants in the Medellín metro. The new Envigado location is larger than the company’s first location in El Poblado.
Papa John’s Pizza has been in Bogotá for a while. And they now have 16 restaurants in Bogotá. Plus, they have one in Chia and one in Cajicá.
The company opened restaurants in Barranquilla and Villavicencio before they opened a restaurant in Medellín. But Papa John’s now has three in Medellín and still only one in Barranquilla and one in Villavicencio. I have heard that Papa John’s is also scouting locations for additional sites in Medellín.
More About Papa Johns Pizza
Kentucky-headquartered Papa John’s Pizza is the third largest take-out and pizza delivery restaurant chain in the world after Pizza Hut and Domino’s. Papa John’s Pizza restaurant franchise was founded in 1983.
Papa John’s now has over 5,080 restaurants in 45 countries. In Latin America, the chain now has restaurants in 16 countries: Bolivia, Cayman Islands, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, Trinidad & Tobago and Venezuela. Latin America is a growth market for the company.
According to Papa John’s recent earnings disclosures, in their development pipeline are 200 units in North America and 1,100 units internationally, which are planned to open over the next six years. The company is expecting growth to be faster outside the competitive U.S. market.
Papa Johns Menu
The menu for Papa Johns in Colombia can be found online here. Prices in the new Envigado restaurant match what is found online.
The pizzas at Papa Johns in Colombia come in four sizes: personal for one person, mediana for two people, familiar for three people and mega familiar for 4+.
For example, for the Italiana that I ordered, the personal size cost is 16,500 pesos, the mediana size cost is 28,900 pesos, the familiar is 37,500 and the mega familiar size cost is 43,900 pesos. For a thinner crust available for the familiar size add 2,000 pesos.
Domino’s Opened Restaurant in Sabaneta
Papa John’s is not the only U.S.-based pizza chain expanding in the Medellín metro. Domino’s opened its second restaurant in Sabaneta late last year. So it now has a total of 14 restaurants in the Medellín metro area.
Domino’s has a restaurant located in the large Mayorca mall in Sabaneta. But the company found that this single restaurant couldn’t handle the volume of pizza delivery business in the rapidly growing Sabaneta market with all the new apartment buildings being built in the area.
As a result, the company decided to open a second location in Sabaneta. It is located a few blocks from Parque Sabaneta. The new restuarant is much larger than the Domino’s at Mayorca mall with several tables inside for dining in. And it is better located to provide delivery (domicillio) services to apartment buildings in Sabaneta.
The Pizza Market in Medellín
The big pizza chains in Medellín such as Jeno’s and PizzaDoblePizza don’t have very good pizza in my opinion. That is why the U.S.-based pizza chains Domino’s and Papa John’s are encountering success in Medellín and other cities in Colombia.
There are also a handful of individual restaurants in the city with really good pizza that have been covered on this site. In Sabaneta, Pizza en Leña also has two locations owned by a Dutch guy that are popular with good thin-crust pizza cooked in brick ovens .
How does Papa John’s Pizza rank? I would personally rank Papa John’s pizza a step above Domino’s. And in my opinion, Domino’s is better than the Colombian pizza chains like Jeno’s and PizzaDoblePizza.
I also happen to like Chicago-style pizza since I previously lived in Chicago for two years. But I haven’t yet found any really good deep-dish pizza anywhere in Colombia.
More U.S.-based Chain Expansions are Likely
Krispy Kreme opened its first donut shop in Medellín in March last year, which is located in a new building in El Poblado along the Milla de Oro (Golden Mile). Since that time, Krispy Kreme opened a second donut shop in Medellín. It is located in El Poblado at Carrera 32 #2 Sur-47, which is located in the Mall Zona Dos.
Starbucks opened its first store in Medellín on September 1 last year located next to the first Krispy Kreme shop. Since that time, it opened two more and reportedly has plans to add up to five more this year.
Medellín now has several U.S.-based chain restaurants and fast food places including Burger King, Dunkin’ Donuts, Hard Rock Café, Hooters, McDonalds, Subway, KFC, Domino’s, Papa John’s, Krispy Kreme, Starbucks and Wingzone.
Bogotá has several more U.S.-based chain restaurants and fast food places that aren’t available yet in Medellín, including Pizza Hut, Chili’s, TGI Fridays, P.F. Changs and Taco Bell.
The Bottom Line
For expats that don’t want to see U.S.-based chain restaurants and fast food places that are expanding globally, you’ll have to go to a much smaller city than Medellín. The Medellín metro area is approaching a population of 4 million. There are already over 125 locations of U.S.-based chain restaurants and fast food chains found in Medellín.
With the continued growth of the city of Medellín and the success U.S.-based chains are finding in the city, additional expansions are likely. But some expats are not happy to see all the U.S.-based chains in the city.
Keep in mind all these U.S.-based chains have come to Medellín primarily looking for Colombian customers, as there are only a few thousand expats living in the city. And perhaps a few thousand more expat tourists in the city at any point in time.
What do you think about Papa John’s and other U.S.-based chains expanding in Medellín?