Carrie Rengers

Wichita’s Papa John’s Pizza franchise sells again

Not quite two years after Frank Carney and Terry Newman sold their Wichita Papa John’s Pizza franchise, buyer DCT Enterprises has sold it again.

As of Monday, PJ Holdings KY is the new owner.

“Our group, it’s kind of an investment group,” says manager and co-owner Tom Wylie.

The Kentucky-based company has six entities, including the new PJ Ops Kansas.

Papa John’s is the only franchise it operates, though some of the partners are involved in other businesses.

The Wichita purchase includes eight restaurants, six of which are in the city. The other two are in Andover and Derby.

“So basically the entire … Wichita market,” Wylie says.

He says the company will keep all of the restaurants.

“We think they’re all good, viable restaurants.”

Wylie says there are no expansion plans yet and won’t be until the company can get to know the market.

“We tend to buy versus build,” he says.

The company has other Papa John’s franchises in places such as Tennessee; Colorado Springs; Lafayette, La.; and Boise, Idaho.

“We’re fragmented across the country,” he says.

“It tends to be red states that we like. Quite frankly, what our research has shown us is those tend to be more more business-friendly states in which to do business.”

For instance, he says, he and his partners have found that in red states, minimum wage “is more under control, if you will.”

Also, he says that in a lot of instances, average rental rates are more reasonable.

“I’m excited about the Wichita market,” Wylie says. “It felt like a similar market to markets that we’re familiar with that we can grow and kind of take it to another level.”

Most of the Wichita Papa John’s stores will get new looks for their front counters and menu boards.

“It basically changes that whole counter package,” Wylie says.

He says his company has had Papa John’s franchises for a dozen years and still owns its original restaurants.

“We fully intend on being in Wichita for a very, very long time.”

Carrie Rengers: 316-268-6340, @CarrieRengers