Udi’s & Papa Murphy’s Gluten-Free Pizza: Risky Business

Papa Murphy's & Udi's Gluten Free Pizza

Papa Murphy’s & Udi’s Gluten Free Pizza

You might have seen some posts about Udi’s Gluten Free and their recent partnership with Papa Murphy’s Take & Bake Pizza. In fact, my blogger friend Chandice at Gluten Free Frenzy just posted about how she had a great experience at her Papa Murphy’s with their new crust. I’m about to tell you MY experience at Papa Murphy’s so you are informed before you visit this restaurant.

Full disclosure, Udi’s sent me a gift card and some Papa Murphy’s swag so I could celebrate in their launch of their crusts in a nationwide pizza take-and-bake restaurant. Naturally I was very excited to be part of the experience. Especially since we use Udi’s regular pizza crust all the time (unless we shop at Safeway, and then we buy Rudi’s). And yes, the Udi’s team DOES know about my experience at my Papa Murphy’s and major kudos for them for having full transparency in posting this.

Papa Murphy's & Udi's Gluten Free Crust

I might have just had a crappy location. With a crappy manager. One that is way too stressed and could give two craps about getting my pizza safely to me. When I came in, I wanted more information – how it was prepared typically – the usual for my first time investigating a restaurant.

Here’s my major issue with this: they use the same utensils and ingredients as their gluten pizzas including spreading the sauce on the pizza. I talked to the manager a bit more and he says he never does anything different than changing gloves – especially during the busy time (although he said they were busy most of the time). Even IF they change gloves, it’s major cross contamination and is not celiac safe.

At this point I could either walk out, go yell at Udi’s and boycott Papa Murphy’s. Or, I could put on my charm and ask him if he could prepare my pizza the right way. He was visibly upset that I made him prepare mine with separate utensils and new ingredients in the back – on a new surface. He was huffy and although I think he was trying to hold his team together, he seemed visibly frustrated. Yes, he had to open all new ingredients for me. But hey – I tried to tip him with the remainder of the gift card (they don’t accept tips, FYI). Needless to say, I was disappointed by my experience and would not go back – especially during any “busy” times.

To investigate further, I called another Papa Murphy’s in my area, but several more miles away from my house. This other location told me on the phone that they have new utensils and a separate prep area (sounds like Chandice’s experience above).

How did the pizza taste? It was great. They don’t have dairy-free cheese, so I added my own and then baked it. If I went to a location that had a great manager that took care of me, even when it was busy, I think it’s great to order a pizza, pick it up, and then bake it at my convenience in my own oven.

Bottom line. With the experience that I had, I hate to see Udi’s affiliated with a company doing it wrong so blatantly – even if they do provide shared kitchen warnings (and they do – lots of them). It’s really not that much harder to have a separate prep area using new ingredients or dedicated gluten-free ingredients and utensils. I hate that someone could walk in, thinking they would be safe, and just because they didn’t investigate how the prep was done, blame all restaurants for being unsafe – or, mistakenly blame Udi’s. If everyone had an experience like Chandice did, I think I would be much happier with how this partnership works. I’m blaming Papa Murphy’s for not taking the time and energy in all of their locations to do the proper training for this new pizza. Because even though we know the Udi’s crust is safe, and we know our own oven will be – that’s not all that can happen to your pizza before it reaches your mouth.

With this post, I’m begging Papa Murphy’s to institute national all-chain training for their gluten-free pizza orders. You just need a little training and then you can assure safety for ALL of your gluten-free customers.

Papa Murphy's & Udi's Gluten Free Pizza

Papa Murphy’s & Udi’s Gluten Free Pizza

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Comments: 16

  1. Erin Smith November 10, 2014 at 8:28 pm Reply

    Your experience at Papa Murphy’s is one of the main reasons I don’t like to eat in chain restaurants. While the corporate bigwigs have good intentions, it seems almost impossible for protocol to be enforced in every single location, especially if these are franchise locations. I know there are some chains that do a great job with GF training, I am still very wary of nationwide chains and consistency.

  2. Darissa November 12, 2014 at 7:32 pm Reply

    I had the same disappointing experience that you did at our local Papa Murphys. Except I never did get to actually try the pizza. I was told it wasn’t safe for Celiacs. They used the same utensils and toppings also.

  3. EVA November 14, 2014 at 4:03 pm Reply

    My dad went in and asked for me about the GF crusts, and the lazyass employee said “we use the same surface and utensils, sooooo….”. The dude didn’t even try! The GF crust at Papa Murphy’s COULD possibly be safe, but it all depends on the specific restaurant you venture into. You could get the high school kids who are just trying to get easy gas money, or you can get a mature and thoughtful worker who’s lived a little. What a chore!

  4. Kirstin November 14, 2014 at 7:14 pm Reply

    What a home run for these companies if they got it right?!? They should really muster the effort to train their employees and get a separate prep area. IT’S REALLY NOT THAT HARD!!! I think they should try. I think those stupid disclaimers should be out lawed. Do it right or don’t do it at all–but please don’t call something gluten free and then hide behind small print that says it might not be.

  5. Marlene May 9, 2015 at 7:59 am Reply

    I had my first pizza w gluten free crust. I’m in Reno. I didn’t order them to do anything different. I should have. I am vey sick today. What a bummer. I’m going to tell everyone I know not to go papa murphys. Conversely, we have a popular local deli in town. Deli Town. They had great coaching and ask every time someone orders GF bread whether new utensils and gloves are needed. They wipe down the counter. Very helpful attitude. No grief. No more papa murphys for me. If you want gf pizza in Reno, dine out at Washoe. About the same price. No problems. And support Deli Town. Great sandwiches.

  6. Sandy August 17, 2015 at 3:12 pm Reply

    Gluten Free Kneads has great thin pizza crusts and coioke mixes. I never cared for any GF products whose main substitute ingredients are rice, soy, corn. They do not taste good, they lack nutrition, and they should not be overpriced since rice, soy, corn are all government subsidized ingredients.

  7. Helgb August 20, 2015 at 2:09 pm Reply

    Last night was my very first experience with a GF pizza. I was so excited to enjoy pizza again. The Papa Murphy’s was actually delicious, I truly enjoyed it. However, I have been very sick for the last 12 hours. I was naive in thinking there would be precautions made to prevent any cross-contamination. And obviously they was not; I have paid the price. Seriously disappointed in G.J., Colorado.

  8. rhonda f October 6, 2015 at 5:30 pm Reply

    as i type this i am very sick from eating papa murphys gluten free pizza. i had to eliminate gluten from my diet nearly one year ago due to a sudden severe intolerance to it. since one year ago i think i have only been this digestively distressed one other time. I have had about 5 pizzas from them and this is the first to make me sick. but im not going back.

  9. Wendy Glaze November 10, 2015 at 10:59 pm Reply

    My husband just got pizza for my son and himself and said did you know they have gluten free pizza there. I said yes he said do u want me to get you one.. I said NO THANK YOU he said why.. I said do they have a safe place to make it, are the topping in a seperated area or do they get them from where they make there regular pizza he said yes but they wear gloves I said well that tells me that that have no training in gluten cross contamination. .. because they move the flour pizza and ten they put there gloved hands into the toppings o now there is flour off the pizza all over them. Somebody that does not have CELIAC DISEASE and is sensitive maybe able to eat it but I really do not want to go to he hospital with severe Headache and severe stomach distress or pain or Vomiting. I will not eat it at all because try have no Idea what Celiac or Gluten sensitive is and if they don’t want to get sued for telling people that they have gluten free pizza it does not just mean the crust it has to be all there meats and sauce and in a safe clean area that it is made in. That they have all the ingredients listed so people can read it that it is not been made with wheat then it is Not SAFE to eat..

  10. Christy Burch December 31, 2015 at 9:25 pm Reply

    I had a problem with a Papa Murphy tonight. The first time I got a pizza there they fixed it perfectly changing gloves clean utensils and getting ingredients from underneath where they hadn’t been touched. Tonight they just ran it down the line with the others touching the ends of other pizzas, getting everythinh from up top and told me that was the best they could do. My Son doesn’t have Celiac but he does like the pizza too and was looking forward to pizza…. I ate a couple pieces and have had an upset stomach since. I’m calling a manager or district manager tomorrow or Monday…. if they can’t take the time to fix it right they honestly shouldn’t advertise.

  11. Justin February 6, 2016 at 5:15 pm Reply

    I think they should offer changing out the utensils and new gloves, wiping down the area, etc but charge $2 per order to do so. All of that takes time and time is money. A cost that should be offset by those of us suffering with celiac and choose to eat there and not by the individual franchise. I think instead of us bitching and complaining that they don’t do it right, we should offer suggestions to make the experience better.

    • Julie March 7, 2016 at 4:15 pm Reply

      is that you, my friend?

  12. Julie March 7, 2016 at 4:14 pm Reply

    I hear that milled rice is ok to eat. they call it sushi rice sometimes

  13. James July 17, 2016 at 10:29 pm Reply

    you make yourself sound like a hypochondriac, yes, you can ask politely in real life, but the post makes you sound like a hypochondriac, there’s a person who once said, if you want to do it right, do it yourself, there’s plenty of gluten free pizza crust recipes and gf recipe at Diabetes.org.

    • Erica Dermer July 18, 2016 at 8:36 am Reply

      There is no need to call me a hypochondriac – perhaps you are not celiac like me. I was asked to review this issue and this is my celiac-based post about it. I am not a hypochondriac, I am diligent about not getting sick at restaurants. Do you know about celiac? It’s not diabetes. I don’t need to be gluten-free for a fad, I need to be it to survive at life.

  14. howard schwartz December 24, 2016 at 5:30 pm Reply

    Well im from Chicago, and have been to to New York and like my pizza, not quite sure when I moved out west and discovered friends would regularly go to Papa Murphy’s anf so I have been at events enough and got my share, and started buying some , not quite sure how they call it a Chicago pIzza, but they are edible..
    As for the gluten free pizza, my girlfriend is a pizza lover and has to be gluten free, so i bought one we are trying to cook it now. ONLY PROBLEM , no pricing available in store , the chick at the counter didn’t respond when asked about the pricing for any pizza with the Udi’s crust. So even with a coupon the deal was $ 11 for a large, but $ 15 for med gluten free after $ 2 off coupon. Not such a deal, I will try make my own gluten free crust ,cause after having to take it home and cook it from Papa Murphy’s, i can put my chopped up vegetables and better sausage and whatever cheese i want.
    Not bad , im eating it but i want a bigger pizza for the price.

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