US pizza chain Papa John’s International has signed an agreement to offer scheduled financial assistance for domestic franchisees.

As part of the agreement, Papa John’s will make an additional $80m investment in the long-term strength of its brand and domestic franchisees starting from the third quarter of this year.

The company’s elected Franchise Advisory Council (FAC) supports the investment programme.

This deal will improve the company’s partnership with franchisees and provide them with certainty on the schedule of remaining royalty relief.

The company will extend financial assistance to its domestic franchisees in the form of lower royalties, royalty-based service incentives, and targeted relief, which will assist franchisees plan and manage their businesses.

Papa John’s president and CEO Steve Ritchie said: “The strength of our brand and of our franchisees are both critical to Papa John’s long-term success.

“We’re pleased to announce that Papa John’s will make a significant investment in the exciting future of our brand. This is an important shared moment for Papa John’s and our committed franchisee base.”

Papa John’s FAC chairman Bill Green said: “We appreciate the Company’s continued investment in the Papa John’s brand, marketing initiatives, and overall franchisee support. We look forward to enjoying the continued benefits of our long-term, successful partnership and to winning together.”

The company will make significant, additional contributions to the National Marketing Fund to amplify its differentiated position and activate its new ambassador and board of directors member Shaquille O’Neal.

O’Neal has invested in nine stores across Georgia including Atlanta, Forest Park, College Park, Riverdale, Morrow, Stockbridge, and McDonough.