Papa John’s Tries to Hold the Price of Its Pies

In the $30 billion pizza category, aggressive discounting and price promotion are a way of life. Except at Papa John’s.

The No. 3 pizza chain has been trying hard to hold the line on discounting, instead sticking with its long-held premium-products-at-premium-prices message. While leader Pizza Hut pushes its $10 Dinner Box (one medium one-topping pizza, five breadsticks and 10 cinnamon sticks), No. 2 Domino’s markets its new artisan pizzas for $7.99, and fourth-ranked Little Caesars continually offers $5 large carry-out pizzas, Papa John’s has largely resisted drastic discounts and mostly relied on milder deals, such as $11 large pizzas.

Its conundrum is faced by many marketers, especially in this economy: How do you gain share without relying on heavy discounting, a move that could harm long-term brand image?

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