American pizza chain Papa John’s International has launched in Kazakhstan with the opening of its location in Almaty.

The restaurant will be operated by Papa John’s International franchisee, PJ Western.

PJ Western co-owner and CEO Christopher Wynne said: “We are excited about establishing and expanding the Papa John’s pizza brand in Kazakhstan.

“We believe that our passion for better ingredients will transfer well to Almaty and beyond and our new customers will love our quality pizza.”

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“PJ Western is Papa John’s largest international franchisee with over 180 restaurants and we look forward to their continued success.”

PJ Western plans to open 16 restaurants, with a second location in Almaty planned to open in October.

The franchisee currently operates a total of 181 Papa John’s locations spread across Russia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Poland. PJ Western also plans to expand the brand in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Papa John’s president Tim O’Hern said: “PJ Western is Papa John’s largest international franchisee with over 180 restaurants and we look forward to their continued success and expansion in the region.

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“We expect that Christopher and his team will continue to deliver on our ‘better ingredients, better pizza’ brand promise in Kazakhstan.”

Papa John’s is also looking for franchisees to expand the brand in France along with Belgium and Denmark.

Earlier this month, the pizza chain reported a 49.9% decrease in net income and 6.2% decline in total revenue for the second quarter ending 1 July.