Behind the Counter: Papa Murphy’s Pizza

A "behind the counter" look at Papa Murphy's. - #PapaMurphysMom

As a Papa Murphy’s Mom, I participate in a discussion group that allows me to ask questions and provide feedback and thoughts. There are private focus groups and surveys designed to gather opinions on a variety of subjects, too. I love being part of programs that allow me to chime in my two cents about new menu ideas or concerns regarding hot-button topics like food allergies. Occasionally I receive a gift card to buy a take and bake pizza but for the most part, it’s just an opportunity to work closely with a brand that I admire.

That opens doors to do cool things like go behind the counter, ask questions, see how things tick and even make my own pizza. A few weeks ago, Scott and I visited a newly opened Papa Murphy’s Pizza to learn all about the things you don’t see. How fresh are the ingredients? What about food allergies? Things like that. Giving my opinion about things online or in conference calls is great but a behind-the-scenes experience helps put things into perspective.

We met with Ronda Pardee who runs the new Bettendorf, Iowa location. They recently relocated to a new building and I want start by gloating pointing out that it has a drive-up window. Yes. A pick-up window. Call ahead and order your pizza or salad then drive up to the window to get the order. The process of getting a Papa Murphy’s pizza is already pretty simple (and quick) but this feature at the new location is just brilliant. During the winter months, we won’t even need to get out of the car.

Papa Murphy's makes their dough each day. - #PapaMurphysMomMmmm. The beginning of something delicious. - #PapaMurphysMom  Fresh begins at the very bottom. - #PapaMurphysMom

After getting a tour of the site, Ms. Pardee proceeded to tell us about their products. Did you know that the crust is all made in-house? They have two different dough mixes they use for their regular pizzas. We had the opportunity to watch team members Jay and Morgan hard at work creating pizza crusts in preparation for the day’s orders. The thin crust dough has less yeast but includes olive oil while the thick crust has no olive oil and more yeast than the thin. Papa Murphy’s proudly offers a gluten-free crust but they have it shipped in from gluten-free experts, Udi’s.

The discussion about gluten-free products opened the door to a great discussion on how Papa Murphy’s handles food allergies. Ms. Pardee explained that they take allergies very seriously by using new bowls and gloves when the customer lets them know of an allergy. She went on to explain that they show the same level of consciousness to accommodate customers such as vegetarians or those with religious beliefs relating to food. While I figured restaurants had an obligation to factor allergies into their process, I never would have thought about the cultural or religious aspect.

Produce is chopped in small batches to ensure freshness. - #PapaMurphysMom

Fresh is good. Does that mean everything is chopped at the beginning of the day? Nope. While Papa Murphy’s chops their ingredients daily, they don’t do it all at once. To ensure it is fresh, they chop it in small batches. Of course, there are some items that are from a can and not fresh (IE artichoke hearts) but even those items are closely monitored. Even though they chop in small batches, they still have some that doesn’t get used. Rather than discarding those ingredients, they are donated. Speaking of charitable giving, local Papa Murphy’s stores offer fundraising programs as well. Ours even offers “Behind the counter” tours for groups and organizations like scout programs and pre-schools.

Order from the menu or create your own. - #PapaMurphysMom

So let’s get back to the pizza. Their standard assembly time is 6 minutes but typical time at our branch is 3 minutes. Customers can call their orders in ahead of time and have it waiting when they arrive. (See above reference to the drive-thru!) They pride themselves in being customer oriented. Our particular location caters to the customers, even opening early if need be. During Hawkeye football games, they make sure their customers are able to pick up their pizzas and be home in time for kickoff.

The enu is just a suggestion. You can create your own favorites. - #PapaMurphysMom  Mmm... Mediterranean Chicken pizza. - #PapaMurphysMomMaking my very own Mediterranean Chicken pizza. - #PapaMurphysMom

Before leaving, Ms. Pardee showed me how to make a pizza. I opted for the Mediterranean Chicken. I love sun-dried tomatoes and a pizza with that is just heavenly. Of course, I’m not real proficient in the kitchen so being in someone else’s kitchen didn’t make me any better. The ingredients are all weighed as they go onto the pizza and modifications to the ingredients can be made upon request. “Extra onions in place of mushrooms” on the Angus steak and garlic as an example.

Making cheese bread. - #PapaMurphysMomThis stuff is heavenly! Cheese bread. - #PapaMurphysMom  Special order: Lasagna - #PapaMurphysMom

They regularly offer specials and even include an artisan line of pizzas now. While the menu offers their standard items, customers can create their own combinations as well. A few items are seasonal, like refried beans for Cinco de Mayo, but other than that most ingredients are available year-round. I even discovered that our store offers things like thick-crust cheese bread and special-order lasagna. Of course, they also offer salads and cookie dough. Yum.

While I was already a fan of Papa Murphy’s pizza, our look behind the curtain just secured my opinions… and made me realize that just because something isn’t written on the menu doesn’t mean it isn’t available.

To find the Papa Murphy’s Take and Bake near you, visit their website. You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter but I recommend you connect with your local store to see what promotions, discounts events and perks they offer. If the service at other stores is as great as ours, then you can’t go wrong.

What’s your favorite Papa Murphy’s pizza?

A "behind the counter" look at Papa Murphy's. - #PapaMurphysMom

45 thoughts on “Behind the Counter: Papa Murphy’s Pizza

  1. Hello fellow Papa Murphy’s Mom! I love the behind the counter look you gave us. We ordered Papa Murphy’s the other day and it always smells so AMAZING in there. You can really tell that everything is fresh. And I knew that they prepped everything fresh each day but I didn’t know that they do it in small batches throughout the day and that they handle things differently based on the health, cultural and religious aspects of their customers. Thanks for mentioning that. It makes me love them even more!

  2. Love all the toppings they have, and the pizza came out looking so yummy, we might now be having pizza for dinner today, this post made me want some. The thick-crust cheese bread looks tempting too!

  3. Oh my goodness, we love Papa Murphy’s… It is so awesome to just go take and bake. Thanks so much for sharing with us.

  4. Oh wow, look at that spinach and cheese! Did a search, they have one about 40 miles outside of Chicago. I wonder if they just opened their branch in Kenosha, WI. I used to live there but don’t recall seeing them. 🙁

  5. We love Papa Murphys! My daughter dated a guy who worked there in high school. That was a bonus for us as parents that he’d show up with pizza on ‘date nights’ when he was allowed to come watch TV on the couch with her 😉

  6. How fun to get a peek behind the scenes! I’ve never lived where there’s a Papa Murphy’s, so I’m totally jealous of this. I clearly need to move!

  7. What’s funny is that I have a Papa Murphy practically within walking distance and I’ve never been there. Have seen the commercials and now this post, now I want to go.

  8. I love Papa Murphy Pizza and think it is so delcious and love that I can bring it home and bake it up and have it hot. They make the best pizza and they have gluten free crust!

  9. My favorite Murphy’s pizza is their Murphy’s Combo. It is so good. I wish they a drive thru window here. That would be so nice not having to get out of the car.

  10. I’m in a pizza rut, eating the same old pizzas all the time. you made me want to try papa murphys…i like the take and bake idea.

  11. I don’t have one of these near me but it looks and sound so yummy! Closest one is Williamsburg (100 miles from me). Thank you for your review.

  12. My husband and I really like the NY thin crust pizza and we get it with sausage and pepperoni. When we go shopping in a city 30 miles away in Southeastern Washington State, we make a point of getting one to take home and bake for dinner. Yay for an easy dinner!

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