Papa's pizza pops up in South Park

"The opening of Papa John's Pizza in Port Orchard on Dec. 17 was a high point for area manager Dan Tift.We're excited, said Tift. The phones have been ringing. People are trying to find out who we are.The store, located on Village Lane in the South Park Plaza, is one of five Papa John's to be opened in the Kitsap Peninsula. The business is owned by Great Western Dining, a privately and locally owned operator of 23 restaurants around Western Washington, including nine other Papa John's and 11 Red Robin restaurants.The Papa John's restaurant chain started in Louisville, Ky., 15 years ago and has grown to 2,500 locations in nine countries. Matt Edwards, general manager of the Port Orchard Papa John's, actually spent two months in Louisville in training for his position.There's a training department, and we had to attend management classes, said Edwards. We spent a lot of time learning about the culture of Papa John's.The culture Edwards speaks of might include Papa John's proclaimed focus of customer service and speedy delivery. With a surprising number of 28 employees at the South Park location, this would be seemingly easier to accomplish. Our goal is to have 15 to 20 pizza deliverers, 10 employees working inside and four managers, said Edwards. Pretty much all of the locations have that many employees.Papa John's features considerations such as as hand-tossed crusts, vine-ripened tomato sauce, traditional toppings, and a unique technique of dough-slapping.We're a lot more quality-oriented than the average pizza place, said Edwards. Specialty pizzas such as The Works, All the Meats, and Garden Special adorn the menu, and all pizzas are subject to a 10-point pizza scale before being distributed to customers.It cannot leave the restaurant unless it's at least an eight-point, said Edwards, who noted the scale is based on crust, toppings, and bake of each individual pizza.Promotion for the newest Papa John's on the peninsula will be kept to a small-scale.Nationally, we've got commercials, but we're not buying any local airtime, said Edwards. We'll use Val-Pac coupons, door hanging, direct mail...but the opening is our biggest promotional thing.Great Western Dining owns the franchise rights to open 35 Papa John's in the King and Kitsap County areas. Future plans include a location in Gig Harbor which Edwards says should open in February 2001.With a slogan like Better ingredients. Better pizza, Papa John's seems to have a lot of confidence in their ability to bring a pleasant eating experience to the residents of Port Orchard.We hire good people and they receive the best training, said Edwards. The thing that separates us from our competitors is the culture and the people.We're glad to be part of this community, said Tift. "

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