- Premises Based
- Food & Drink
Papa John’s was founded in the USA in 1984 and the franchise operates around the world. There are well over 450 outlets across the UK and 5,000 stores in more than 40 international markets and territories.
Papa John’s is one of the largest pizza companies in the world and has opportunities for franchisees throughout the UK. We believe in “Better Ingredients Better Pizza” and this is a promise our franchisees deliver every day. For those interested in running a multi-unit Papa John’s franchise, or a ‘non-traditional’ store, Papa John’s has various opportunities throughout the UK. Help is provided with location selection, growth incentives and full turn-key opening of stores. As a franchise, the Company supplies all the assistance needed to get your successful Papa John’s up and running.
We offer five weeks’ comprehensive training, three weeks of which is in a store to learn the practical side of the operation. Following successful completion you will be awarded our prestigious Restaurant Owners Certificate, allowing you to go on and operate you own store.
A day in the life of a Papa John’s franchisee is varied! It includes overseeing operations, planning, managing staff, right through to organising local marketing and promotion.
In December 2019, Iain Heron gave up his job as a franchise business manager for Papa John’s, moved from Durham to central Scotland with his family. He now runs eight franchised Papa John’s stores of his own.
Iain explains: “It’s been quite an exciting time! Perhaps a little stressful, but I like solving challenges! It’s great to have my whole family on-board as we begin this new chapter. My partner Lindsey sold her florist business in Durham and has helped me set up while she still works part time in another florist shop. My mum and brother who have worked in the pizza industry before, have also joined us on our journey. My mum’s now our above store manager, looking after training and standards and my brother works in the stores too.
“It was a big move and certainly quite a commitment and Papa John’s has been right behind us to help make this happen. The Papa John’s QCC team has been really helpful and I’m very thankful for that. I just felt it was the right time to invest in our future in this way. The Papa John’s brand continues to get stronger and the company is growing in the UK and I can continue to contribute to that growth, now through our own store numbers.
“I’ve got a long history in the pizza industry, as well as working for Papa John’s QCC as a franchise business manager helping franchisees develop, previously, I also oversaw more than 30 pizza stores for a franchisee for a rival firm for more than six years. I was even a pizza delivery driver when I was a student, so I know the industry pretty well.
“However, regardless of my background, the process of becoming a franchisee is exactly same for everyone applying to Papa John’s! I still needed to develop and present a detailed business plan, cashflow forecast for three years and outline my ideas for growing sales. The only difference on this occasion was that I was the one being interviewed, instead of me being the interviewer!
“My application was successful, and, I bought an existing outlet in Dundee then opened two new stores in Stirling and Livingston. I have also purchased the existing Ayr Papa John’s which was completely refurbished, plus a store in Hamilton and most recently a brand-new store in Dundee.
“I run my Papa John’s in a proper structured way. We have teams and store managers who I meet with regularly to see how we can make improvements. One of the highlights so far has been seeing how staff have progressed in such a short time. Already we have people ready to step up in their roles, for example: several of our assistant managers are now on target to become store managers and this is great to see.
“Previously, I have looked after the businesses of others and so now it’s a case of managing my own emotions when I see the bills come in and of course the takings. It’s all very real. However, running your own business means you can make changes quickly and see the results just as quickly too which is really rewarding.
“My goal now is to keep the stores turning over well and to improve sales and then grow year-on-year. I will continue to develop my multi-unit portfolio, aiming to acquire more Papa John’s stores as and when they become available. Who knows what the future holds? I do know one thing for sure: it will certainly involve plenty of great Papa John’s pizza!”
Papa John’s is currently recruiting for more enthusiastic franchisees. As one of the largest pizza companies in the world, Papa John’s has opportunities for multi-unit franchisees throughout the UK. Help is provided with location selection, growth incentives, and full turn-key opening of stores. As a franchise, the Company supplies all the assistance needed to get your successful Papa John’s up and running.
What was your career experience before becoming a Papa John’s franchisee?
I used to run a college for international students in London before joining Papa John’s. I purchased the Newbury franchised store in 2013. I now run 40 Papa John’s stores across the UK with plans to grow to 100 by the end of 2022.
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 and I was hungry for a new challenge.
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 multiple stores.
Running multiple Papa John’s stores offers economies of scale on ordering, marketing and it helps with recruitment advertising too. Staff can move between stores and there is always a path for promotion for them which is motivating as we like to keep our best people.
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 and existing store. Sometimes people want to sell up then, 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?
Success is really all about teamwork. I have two managing directors, two heads of operations and nine cluster managers to manage the 40 stores I run. Communication between us all and to staff is really important. We hold regular weekly web calls to keep everyone updated on progress and protocol.
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.
We try and promote from within. 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 100 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.
Abid Hussain joined Papa John’s in 2016. Before becoming a franchisee, Abid worked in advertising and marketing in London and was a consultant in a web firm.
Named as Papa John’s UK Franchise Owner of the Year (for five stores or less) in 2018, he now runs 15 Papa John’s with the help of his team, with further plans to expand as the right sites become available.
“After working in an office, Papa John’s was certainly something a bit different!” explains
Abid. “I was looking for a new challenge and a friend of mine ran a Papa John’s store. I did some research and thought buying a franchise could be a great move for me – it was! Initially, I became a partner in the Taunton Papa John’s, run by my cousin, where I learned more about the company and how the stores operated. I took over the store in 2016.
“At first, as you can imagine, running any new business is challenging. There is a lot to take in. Fortunately, the team on the ground were really good and this enabled me to find out all I needed to know. With support and training from the Papa John’s
central team, I was able to improve sales and soon I bought two new franchised Papa John’s in Eastleigh and Fareham.
“I used my marketing know-how for digital campaigns and leafleting and some direct mail too. The staff were well trained and customer service prioritised and soon sales started to grow. I now run 15 Papa John’s and plan to open more as sites become available. Running multiple franchised stores offers economies of scale in relation to ordering, marketing and it can make recruitment easier too. Once you’ve hit on a successful formula, why not replicate it many times over?
“However, my success wouldn’t be possible without my staff. I have area and store managers who are great and the team behind each of them ensures we deliver fabulous service and top-quality pizza every time.
“Motivating staff and ensuring they have what they need in terms of equipment plus good training is key to keeping the best people. I am proud that all my managers have been with me since I joined Papa John’s and we have grown the business together. I know that if my people are happy then so are our customers: it makes good business sense.
“In 2018 I was amazed to be named as Papa John’s UK Franchise Owner of the Year (for five stores or less)! The award was announced at Papa John’s biggest ever UK franchise conference held in Birmingham. I wasn’t expecting to win an award at all! However, it is a team effort and I couldn’t do it without my great people. Being recognised in this way was tremendously motivating for the whole team who ‘make it happen’.
“I have plans to open several more stores in the future so am looking forward to growing my portfolio of outlets with the help of my great team plus the support of Papa John’s right behind us.”
Abdul Sattar Askar has big plans for his Papa John’s pizza franchise! He bought his first store in 2013 and in his words, he ‘has never looked back’! Abdul is a true multi-unit entrepreneur with the future in his sights. He now runs several Papa John’s across the Home Counties, with plans to grow this to 50 stores across the region within the next 2 years.
Abdul explains: “I knew I wanted to be in the food business. I looked at several other companies before choosing Papa John’s. I was keen to be able to provide a top-class product with excellent customer service plus good value and that is what this franchise offers. I also needed to have the chance to expand and this is certainly possible with Papa John’s!
“I was regular customer of Papa John’s and it’s fair to say that it’s the best pizza on the high street, so by joining the brand as a franchisee means I am now part of how this fabulous product is created and delivered our local communities on a daily basis. I believe the secret to my success is mixture of several ingredients! Hard work, determination, an excellent team, my supportive family plus help from the great Papa John’s team.
“My plan was always to own multiple stores as it definitely strengthens the back-bone of operations and local marketing. My stores are mainly located in the Home Counties and operating as a cluster is very cost effective and increases the opportunities for my wonderful and hard-working staff too.
“Very early in my journey with Papa John’s, I realised that a solid structure is the key to success. I have store managers in all my outlets who are guided on regular basis by my area managers, while office staff take care of the admin side of our operation. I feel privileged and take it as an absolute blessing that I have a very supportive, reliable, capable and hands on management team so I have been able take an active role in developing my business and the brand further in the Home Counties.
“To develop the best team of people and support network for the business is important. It’s very simple, if I don’t invest in my team’s training and staff in general, my business will fail. It’s particularly important to me that my team is well trained and have all the tools and skills at their disposal to develop and grow the business.
“My staff in any given store are from the local community. It’s especially important for me that I’m able to give back to the community, as without them we certainly wouldn’t exist. We are always engaging with the community and looking for ways to help local charities with fund raising for example.
“For me, it’s incredibly satisfying that I’m able to deliver an amazing food offering to our customers within our communities because our connections with local people and customers are so central to what we do. As a brand, it certainly feels that we have achieved this goal.
“My future with Papa John’s looks very bright and very much like pizza! We are currently on track to have 50 stores across the Home Counties within the next 2 years.”
How long have you been running your franchise?
I joined Papa John’s in 2011. I now run 14 Papa John’s stores in cities like Sheffield, Leeds, Doncaster and Rotherham.
What led you to invest in a franchise?
I worked in the food industry for 12 years before joining Papa John’s, but I was always hungry to run my own business.
I was first recommended to the Papa John’s franchise opportunity by my cousin who is also a franchisee. I knew the brand was popular and so in 2011, I decided to open my first outlet. Sure, it’s been hard work over the years, but I’m delighted and proud to be continuing to serve up the very best pizza to my local community.
Since I started with Papa John’s the company has grown significantly. There is a whole new and extended team at the Quality Control Centre (QCC) in Milton Keynes. They are really hot on marketing and the TV advertising has really worked to strengthen and grow the brand, widening our customer base.
The ambition of the QCC team and their ongoing support has helped me become a multi-store operator.
Why did you choose the food sector, and why Papa John's in particular?
I was familiar with the food sector as I worked in the industry for many years. I liked Papa John’s as I loved the pizza!
I chose Papa John’s as it was quite simply better than the competition. Papa John’s is now one of the largest pizza companies in the world. There are well over 400 stores across the UK and over 5,000 stores in more than 40 international markets and territories and for good reason! The product’s freshness, quality ingredients and our focus on good service and value for money, is a recipe for success.
Papa John’s is focused on expansion and this is exciting. It means there are many opportunities to grow. My goal is to have to 20 stores within the next year.
Running multiple stores offers a number of advantages. Economies of scale when it comes to ordering, marketing and also recruitment can offer a competitive advantage. The more stores we open the simpler the process becomes.
The Papa John’s training is also excellent, and the central team provides all the support necessary to ensure the franchise is off to a good start but this goes for staff training too. Induction training and ongoing staff training all happens online so no stone is left unturned.
How do you ensure that you are one step ahead of the competition?
Papa John’s concept of ‘BETTER INGREDIENTS. BETTER PIZZA.” means we only use the finest, freshest ingredients for a better flavour. We combine our great pizza with excellent customer service, delivery times and always offer good value to keep our customers coming back for more!
Marketing is also important. However good your product and service are, if people don’t know about it, they will never become great customers! We regularly run store promotions to attract new customers and offer value to our existing client base.
Do you find it a challenging industry to work in?
My role has changed over the years. Although I’m still hands-on, visiting each store every fortnight or so, I now have store managers and three area managers. This means my time is mainly occupied with overseeing the whole operation and with new store openings.
Starting any business has its challenges. Once it’s up and running, developing the franchise is the next hurdle. You need to deliver the results to be able to grow and move the business forward. However, the team at Papa John’s QCC is really helpful. Their experts handle the store location selection, design and shop fit-out, so nothing is left to chance.
In a way, owning and running multiple stores is easier than running just one, as you have staff to help you. Of course, you need to manage your team, but we all get on really well and as well as creating more jobs, opening more stores means increased sales! We work hard to promote the stores with special meal deals and discount tokens.
In addition, Papa John’s also offers special incentives to support new store openings. Help is provided with deals on equipment, reduced royalty fees and marketing. Putting these great deals on the table just when you need them most, is just one of the things the QCC team is able to do to support our new store openings.
What do you enjoy most about running your franchise?
It goes without saying that I love the pizza! However, working with my team, who are good people and a lot of fun is a big part of what makes running the franchise enjoyable. I employ more than 150 people across my stores now. Some of my managers have been with me for seven or eight years. Some started as drivers or in-store and have worked their way up. The trust and respect we have for one another is what makes it work.
Also like the flexibility the business offers too and love delivering to our communities. We like to support the community where we can and so our stores offer NHS staff 50% off all orders and we also give those in the army and police the same deal. I’m glad we can make just a small contribution in this way. In life and in business it’s so important we all support each other where we can.
What advice would you offer prospective franchisees?
Research is key. You need to be thorough before entering into any business opportunity. I would always advise people to ‘try before you buy’! In this way, you know what you are getting into. Good luck!