Manager, Culinary Innovation | Atlanta, GA | Papa Johns

Manager, Culinary Innovation


The R&D Culinary Manager acts as the lead culinary role within the R&D Team. This role supports the short- and long-term Menu Strategy, by managing, and fulfilling the product innovation pipeline for the Papa Johns promotional calendar.  This role also leads culinary development for our Canadian restaurants. 

This role leads all culinary R&D components on current and future product offerings for Papa Johns as part of the business and menu strategy.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Demonstrates understanding in culinary basics: the principles of cooking techniques, product characteristics, safe food handling techniques, food & nutrition, and idea development.
  • Develops understanding of and ability to translate food trends into innovative opportunities, stimulate new food ideas and product concepts.
  • Support culinary agenda setting, prioritization, and resource allocation, balancing short- and long-term needs and priorities
  • Demonstrates basic proficiency in the areas of planning, development and execution of all the core services of culinary such as recipe development, package directions, performance and yield testing, food trend research/application.
  • Prep and prepare products for daily product showing, supplier ideations and leadership showings
  • Execute and document all testing of new and existing products or procedures and document recipes and formulations of new and existing products and procedures
  • Works well in a team environment, able to balance multiple and/or shifting priorities, and flexes to provide support to colleagues as needed.
  • Manages recipe and product functions within the organization’s database.
  • Will travel as needed to supplier production runs, franchisee training, photo shoots and supplier ideations

Education, Experience & Certifications

  • AS or BS Degree in Culinary Arts.
  • 5+ years of food industry experience, formal product development process experience
  • Strong knowledge and experience of multi-location national and / or regional chain desired
  • Strong knowledge of the overall food industry landscape, in particular QSR and Independent trends.
  • Computer proficiency (Microsoft Office, database, Internet, and documentation software required

Functional Skills

  • Analytical Skills: effectively uses data to generate insights for operations excellence
  • Planning & Prioritization: highest impact, highest value
  • Financial & Business Acumen
  • Communicates Effectively and Candidly
  • Problem Solving; ability to use rigorous logic to solve problems with innovative effective solutions
  • Process Improvement: Strive to continually improve
  • Ability to manage multiple projects under tight deadlines and be organized
  • Ability to work in a fast paced, deadline-driven environment, and to balance changing priorities to drive key projects to completion with minimal supervision
  • Demonstrated high level of creativity and personal initiative, and a natural sense of inquisitiveness and curiosity


Strive for Excellence: Knowledgeable about how organizations work; Knows how to get things done both through formal channels and the informal network; Understands the origin and reasoning behind key policies, practices, and procedures; Understands the cultures of organizations.

Harnessing Value and Potential: Uses a mentoring style that is honest, solid, and empowering; Drives team performance without compromising the work culture; Provides ongoing coaching and follow up support to help team members achieve their desired performance; When coaching, ensures feedback is both constructive and objective.

Customer Centric: Takes personal responsibility for increasing customer satisfaction; Ensures that a consistent message has been delivered internally and externally regarding the Papa John’s customer brand; promotes an environment where team members and leaders (e.g., corporate office or restaurants) are held responsible for their role in delivering the customer service brand promise

Leadership Courage: Clearly defines the expectations and how they will change for internal and external stakeholders; Manages any resistance to change within teams; Fosters an environment where team members’ and leaders’ egos and sense of entitlement are kept in check; Monitors the team’s successes and failures and shows a willingness to course correct whenever necessary.

Bias for Action: Demonstrates a willingness to jump into action wherever they might be needed; Using good judgment, seizes opportunities to improve systems and processes that impact team members’ performance; Demonstrates the ability to make difficult decisions based on a minimum of planning.

Optimizing Collaboration: Creates a team environment where hard and soft resources are openly shared; Facilitates team discussion and open communication; Clarifies the role and responsibilities of each team member, as well as the leader; Sustains the team’s energy by reinforcing the value of achieving the shared goal.

Credibility and Influence:  Can negotiate skillfully in tough situations with both internal and external groups; Can win concessions without damaging relationships; Can be both direct and forceful as well as diplomatic; Gains trust quickly of other parties to the negotiations.

Our Values

  • EVERYONE BELONGS – Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Teamwork
  • DO THE RIGHT THING – Integrity, Character and Community
  • PEOPLE FIRST – Customer and Team member Focus
  • INNOVATE TO WIN – Think Differently and Lead Change
  • HAVE FUN – It’s Pizza, It Has To Be Fun!

Our Core Competencies

  • CUSTOMER FOCUSED - Put the customer’s needs first
  • RESULTS DRIVEN – Commit to achieving objectives
  • INNOVATIVE MINDSET – Open to new ideas and ways of doing business
  • STRATEGIC THOUGHT LEADERSHIP – Engage in logical and systematic thinking
  • COLLABORATION – Work together in the most effective way

Papa Johns is an equal opportunity employer.

It is the policy of Papa John’s to provide equal employment opportunities for all applicants and team members without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, marital status or civil partnership, national or ethnic origin, pregnancy or maternity, veteran status, uniformed service (as defined by 10 U.S.C. §101 (a)(5)), protected disability status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender reassignment, or gender expression, or any other characteristic protected by statute or law.