Re:Papa Murphy's take & bake chain
The thing is that places like Papa Murphy's, while being "chains", are run by individual owners. I had my first Papa's take n bake 15 years ago in Astoria, OR. For the 2 years I lived there it rocked. I did not have it again until 10 years later, in the St Louis, MO area. One store was awesome, the other not so much.
I moved to the Bremerton, WA area 6 months ago, and have been to 3 of these chains. 1 was "ok", 1 was "really good" and one was "ummmmmm". You have to understand that the cooking guidelines are "suggestions". Everyone has different ovens, just pay attention to it and you're golden. Also, the places the pizza has been darn good have had good employees--the ones who seem like they are happy to be there, making pizza for you. The closest Papa's to me has a string of employees who all seem like you are bothering them. The next closest has a string of employees who act like they would prefer to be smoking pot than working. The furthest from me has people who act like they love what they do.....and it shows in the product. They give me a better balance of sauce/toppings vs cheese.
I will still prefer making my own, but I have found it depends on the individual store, rather than the company as a whole. I would rather pay $7 for a pizza made in front of my eyes than a frozen pizza for $1.50 less, where I cannot see what toppings are added. Just my $.02, of course:)