The 25 year old gritted his teeth and got involved in every part of his new business. He took orders, made and sliced the pizzas, often delivered them himself and even went out leafleting to try and drum up trade.
And now the 33 year old from East London is enjoying more than a slice of success, with nine stores under his belt within the M25.
Raheel’s father is from Pakistan but he was born in East London, where he had a modest upbringing. From a young age he wanted to help out with the family dry cleaning business, and he started learning the laundry trade before he had even reached his tenth birthday.
But Raheel wanted to make a name for himself, rather than following in his father’s footsteps. He became a franchise owner in 2003 when he opened his first Papa John’s Pizza store in Grays, Essex, despite having no experience in the food industry.
He now operates outlets in Wanstead, Angel, Chingford, Docklands, Farringdon, Fulham, Harringay, Hoxton & Cricklewood selling more than one million pizzas a year. In 2005, Raheel was flown over to the USA so that Papa John’s Pizza founder John Schnatter could congratulate him on his success in person.
Raheel said: “I am very proud of what I have achieved so far and I am building on my success by opening a new store in Tower Bridge in 2011. I’m aiming to add another four stores to my franchise portfolio next year, and beyond that I’m hoping to run as many as 20 outlets.
“I chose Papa John’s Pizza in the first place because it was a great opportunity and they proved they could give me a lot of support when I was starting out. The business model was already a proven success, and I definitely made the right decision. I even recommended Papa John’s to two of my friends and they are now running successful stores.
“Running my first store was a real learning curve because I rolled my sleeves up and got to know all aspects of my business. I think this was the key to my success, and I would advise any new franchise owner to follow my example. If you want to be a cut above the rest, you need to earn your crust through passion and hard graft.”