We speak to multi-unit franchisee Mo Abid on his entrepreneurial ambitions to own and operate at least 50 units of Papa Johns Franchise.
What was your career experience before becoming a Papa John’s franchisee?
I used to run a college for international students in London, however, the sector was changing and I was looking for a new opportunity. A friend mentioned Papa John’s and after doing my homework, I purchased the Newbury franchised store in 2013. I now run 15 stores across the UK from Torquay to Trowbridge, Bristol, Worcester, Hereford and Newbury to name a few.
How did you first hear about franchising? And what attracted you to the franchise model?
A friend worked in franchising and recommended the model. He was happy and making a good living. Franchising is a professional set up and so in combination with Papa John’s top quality product and service – which I’d already tried and loved – I knew the business opportunity was there.
Why did you decide to invest in multiple units?
It was a big learning curve as I was completely new to the industry and it took a couple of years to realise the full opportunity which Papa John’s offers. I now know how to grow sales and the importance on focusing on quality and marketing.
The success over the years has enabled me to purchase more stores and I now run 15 Papa John’s with the help of my team.
What is your experience when you open a new location?
Opening in a new location always starts with great sales. It is then up to us to maintain the customers’ interest over time with marketing, offers and always delivering the best product and service available.
It is generally easier to take over an existing store. Sometimes people want to sell up, once approved by Papa John’s, you can buy the re-sale franchise which means there are already staff in place and an existing customer base. Although I also like opening new stores and bringing the very best pizza to the people for the first time too!
Have there been any unexpected challenges to scaling up?
The main challenge in growth is to manage cashflow carefully. On the one hand there is a need to invest in stores, staff and marketing and yet on the other watch expenditure and be as cost effective as possible. Striking a careful balance is crucial to the success of any expanding business.
What is essential when recruiting and leading a team?
I have a HR department to manage the recruitment for stores. It is essential that stores are well staffed during our busy/peak times between 5-9pm and on the weekends. Particularly we need good bike riders to ensure deliveries are on-time. This means our product is always hot and fresh and customers keep coming back for more. The rise in the minimum wage will increase pressure on our cost base so we have be even better at staff planning to accommodate this.
We try and promote from within and I run my 15 stores with the help of an operations manager plus three area managers. I also have x5 multi-unit managers (or MUMs as we call them!) who manage more than one store if there are two in a particular city like Birmingham for example. Working with people you know and trust is an essential ingredient for success.
What is your vision for the future of your businesses?
I have big plans for pizza! My ultimate aim is to have 50 Papa John’s stores so it will be a busy few years ahead. The company offers the opportunity to grow and I’m hungry for success.