Inc. Russia Interviews PJ Western CEO Christopher Wynne about Succeeding Under Lockdowns
9 March 2021
The restaurant industry has been in constant flux since the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdowns. Customers dine in less, preferring delivery or take-out. Despite these changes, Papa John's continues to succeed and grow. Inc. Russia interviewed PJ Western CEO Christopher Wynne about Papa John's successful adaptation to pandemic conditions.
Wynne explained that after the pandemic-mandated shift to a delivery-focused format, Russian customers adjusted quickly, making up for the losses incurred from the restrictions on dining in. During the first few months of the lockdowns, sales in Moscow and St. Petersburg decreased the most. However, demand in the suburban regions actually increased, since people were spending more time in their dachas.
Later in the interview, Wynne discussed his views on evaluating future partners, the complex nature of the seemingly simple pizza industry, and the challenge of running a business in Russia, saying that it is "something between a sport and a war, depending on the day of the week."
On November 6, Activision released the latest installment of its Call of Duty video game franchise - Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War. PJ Western in Russia partnered with them to promote the game.
Starting on November 6, Papa John's will package any 35-centimeter pizza in a unique Call of Duty pizza box, and attach a code for an in-game reward, such as an emblem for the player's avatar. In addition to the pizza and the code, Papa John's will deliver a Johnner, a specialty item based on the Turkish doner.
"I'm certain that a great pizza and a popular video game are a perfect way to pass the time during these November days, and to win cool prizes from Papa John's and the legendary Call of Duty®," stated Nadezhda Ovanesova, Papa John's director of marketing in Russia (original quote in Russian).
The promotion will last until 27 November 2020.