Papa John’s abandons Coke for rival Pepsi

Papa John’s Pizza will end its exclusive 25-year relationship with Coca-Cola and start serving Pepsi in its U.S. stores, beginning in January.

The switch by the Louisville-based restaurant chain is a blow to Coke in the competition between the nation’s two beverage giants in their efforts to advance their fountain-restaurant businesses. The companies have worked diligently to secure exclusive contracts with several restaurants: Pepsi also has Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and KFC; Coke is aligned with McDonald’s, Subway and Wendy’s.

A Papa John’s spokesman said the new beverage agreement with Pepsi resulted from the compatibility of the companies. However, the pizza chain didn’t spell out the reason for its break-up with Coke that comes at the end of its long relationship, most recently a seven-year contract.

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