LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Papa John's pizza fans can now say "bonjour" to the "The Cheesy Chicken Cordon Bleu" - the winning pizza in Papa's Specialty Pizza Challenge. Created by Barbara Hyman of Los Angeles, Calif., the rendition of the classic dish struck a chord with Papa John's customers, representing 45 percent of the more than 240,000 Specialty Pizza Challenge pizzas sold in the month of August.
As the creator of the winning pizza, Hyman will receive a "slice of the sales" (up to $10,000), free Papa John's pizza for life, and the opportunity to appear in a "Papa's In The House" television commercial. The Cheesy Chicken Cordon Bleu, which features Papa John's original crust, spinach Alfredo sauce, topped with grilled all white-chicken, ham, fresh-sliced onions and extra mozzarella, Asiago, provolone and Fontina cheeses, will now be on the Papa John's menu for one year.
"Papa's Specialty Pizza Challenge offered a unique opportunity for our customers to have a hand in shaping our menu," said Andrew Varga, Papa John's Chief Marketing Officer. "This innovative contest driven by Facebook entries, the marketing ingenuity of the three finalists and ultimately the number of pizza sales, demonstrates that people love our pizza and will support it in a number of different ways."
Papa John's received more than 12,000 entries via Facebook in the Papa's Specialty Pizza Challenge which were ultimately narrowed down to three finalists in June by a panel of judges that included the Food Network's Ted Allen and Rich Eisen of the NFL Network. On August 2, Papa John's put the three pizzas on its menu, and the three finalists traveled to Papa John's headquarters in Louisville to tour the facility and prepare their pizzas for the company's corporate staff.
Each finalist was given a $1,000 marketing budget to promote their pizza. Hyman spent her dough on local promotions and a Facebook page. In addition, Hyman announced that if she won the contest, she would donate a portion of her winnings to the National Wildlife Federation in hopes of playing a part in the relief efforts for the gulf oil spill.
"It is incredibly exciting to create a pizza that may be featured on Papa John's menu," Hyman said. "The Cheesy Chicken Cordon Bleu pizza was born on a grocery shopping trip with my daughter. I wanted to create a spin on an old favorite recipe that my mother used to make. We're amazed at how much Papa John's pizza fans around the country loved the pizza, too."
The other two finalists, Blair Dial of Springfield, Ill., who created the "The Big Bonanza" and Kendra Chapman of Ball Ground, Ga., who entered "The Workin' Fire," received free pizza for a year as semi-finalists.
Headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, Papa John's International, Inc. (NASDAQ: PZZA) is the world's third largest pizza company. For nine of the last 10 years, consumers have rated Papa John's No. 1 in customer satisfaction among all national pizza chains in the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). Papa John's also was honored by Restaurants & Institutions Magazine (R&I) with the 2009 Gold Award for Consumers' Choice in Chains in the pizza segment and was named 2007 Pizza Today Chain of the Year.
SOURCE: Papa John's International, Inc.