Jitesh Patel bought his first Papa John’s franchised pizza delivery store when he was just 20 years old! He now owns and runs a total of six outlets in Kings Heath (Birmingham), Birmingham Central, Bearwood, Selly Oak, Worcester and Cheltenham. Jitesh also helped his sister Nisha set up two further Papa John’s in Leicestershire, employing around 50 people and she is soon to open a third. But Jitesh’s ambitions don’t stop there: his aims to open three or four more Papa John’s this year!
“I used to work as a systems manager for a competitor, however, I always knew I wanted my own pizza store,” explains Jitesh. “When I first became a Papa John’s franchisee in 2005, the company had only 50 UK outlets. I have another sister who lives in the USA and she had told me how popular Papa John’s was over there and how that success would soon come to the UK. She was proved right as now the company has more than 250 UK stores and is growing rapidly!
“Growth in the size of the company means Papa John’s has more marketing ‘clout’. Recently some great company-wide marketing initiatives have been introduced include the sponsorship of the Football League and the Papa Rewards scheme online. These have been a massive help to increase custom in stores.
“However, popularity is not only down to good marketing, but also a fantastic product. Papa John’s is the only branded pizza chain to use only 100% fresh dough, giving a better natural flavour and a unique tomato sauce is made from the best Californian tomatoes, picked and packed from vine to can in just six hours. Our customers tell us the pizza is by far the best on the market and so the great taste and top quality customer service always keeps them coming back for more.”
He continues: “Owning multiple stores has its own challenges. However, there are economies of scale to be realised as variable costs come down with greater purchasing power. Also understanding the business model by taking time to learn the successful Papa John’s formula makes each store opening easier. Training staff improves with experience; we use Papa John’s clever online training system called ULearn, which really gets new team members up to speed quickly.
“I’ve employed some of my key staff for five or six years now so I’m working with people I trust. It also means you can arrange a day off occasionally!
“Our focus is on getting the basics of great pizza, excellent customer service and proactive marketing right and the formula is working very well: I was awarded Papa John’s Franchisee of the Year Award a few years ago!
“Working in franchising is hard work but straightforward if you love the brand – and you only love the brand if it makes you a good income. I love the Papa John’s brand!”