How Papa John's, Pizza Hut, and Domino's Pizza Became The Big Three
The three largest pizza brands in the United States are Pizza Hut, followed by Domino's Pizza, and then Papa John's. Pizza Hut is also the largest pizza restaurant chain in the entire world. Their respective success mirrors how long they've been in business. Pizza Hut opened its first restaurant in 1958, the first Domino's Pizza arrived in 1960, and then Papa John's did not come along until 1985.
When it comes to pizza advertising, all three companies regularly implement very aggressive marketing campaigns and are always in direct competition with each other. Menu items are rotated frequently based on public reception, and new pizza styles and side items are always in development. Papa John's pizza used to stick to their basic menu formula, but recently has started following the trend of marketing and rotating new items. Papa John's is also a big favorite for people who prefer to order online. They were the first of the big three to make online ordering available all through the United States.
Franchise locations are abundant with all three companies. In fact, all of Domino's Pizza's international pizza shops are franchised.
Pizza Hut as well as Domino's Pizza have been prominently featured and referenced in several films, television shows, and even video games. They are the first two pizza shops that come to mind when most people pick up the phone to order a pizza. Papa John's has however made a great deal of progress and become a significant threat to the other two. Frank Carney, one of the co-founders of Pizza Hut, has actually been a Papa John's franchisee since 1994 (who left Pizza Hut in 1980). Frank was even featured in a Papa John's commercial, in which he entered a Pizza Hut stockholders meeting wearing a Papa John's apron, and said, "Sorry guys, I found a better pizza."