Pizza Delivery Driver to Multi-Unit Operator: How one Franchisee Realised his Dream with Papa Johns

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It’s been an incredible journey of success for multi-unit franchisee Nazim Vadiwala, who now runs 13 Papa Johns in the North of England and beyond.  Incredible because Nazim first started out as a pizza delivery driver for a rival firm. 

Nazim explains: “I found a job delivering pizzas close to where I lived in Newcastle.  I quite liked the variety and being out and about, but I always had a dream.  My goal was to run my own business one day.  So, when I was delivering pizzas I wasn’t actually working, I was learning.”

Nazim quickly progressed to becoming a store manager – even winning the company’s Manager of the Year award.  A promotion to area manager followed before: “I decided the time had come to set up my own business,” he says.

Nazim joined Papa Johns as a franchisee in October 2018.  He continues: “I had worked with Syed Salman who is now operations director within our business for many years.  We had often discussed the possibility of running our own business but frustratingly there was simply nowhere to go within the company we were employed by. 

“From our regular competitor checks we knew Papa Johns had an exceptional product.  The company’s “BETTER INGREDIENTS.  BETTER PIZZA.” promise, which means only the finest ingredients and fresh dough – never frozen – are used to create the top-quality pizzas, really ‘went well’ with customers.  We believed Papa Johns’ fantastic pizza combined with our industry experience, plus our dedication and enthusiasm meant all that learning had created right ingredients to run our own successful pizza delivery store.”

Submission of a detailed business plan and funding agreed by RBS meant Nazim was soon able to take over the Leith Walk store in Edinburgh.  “The Papa Johns team have been really supportive to help us set up and grow our business.  They always reply to messages quickly and everyone has played their part in our success.  The different departments at the Milton Keynes QCC work closely with our team and we are always made to feel our business is their priority.”

Over the years, Nazim and his team were able to open more Papa Johns stores, most recently launching in Consett and South Shields.  “We had a party when we opened in Consett and even Rob Payne, the Managing Director of Papa John’s in the UK made the trip to share in our excitement about opening the new store!  It was a great day!”

Nazim’s role has certainly evolved from his early days as a delivery driver, but he still likes to be hands-on in the business.  Much of his time is now spent in-store helping staff make small improvements.  “Everyday I’m in a store.  It’s always busy but it’s really important that I see first hand how my team is serving customers and that I am checking the quality of the pizzas.  It means we can always be on top of our game, and I can help make small improvements to ensure we strive to make our customer experience even better,” he adds.

Nazim acknowledges the secret of his success is down to: “hard work and teamwork.”  Operations director Syed Salman along with colleagues Mark Morrison and Younus Mohamed who oversee the various stores, are essential ingredients within the business.  “Pizza is a people business and every day they are working to help our teams put smiles on customers’ faces by serving-up our fabulous fresh pizza for the local communities around our stores.  I couldn’t do it without them.

“Sure, it’s hard work and I put in many hours each week, but I love that our pizza brings people together.  It’s fun to share with friends and our delicious, quality pizza means there is always something for everyone to enjoy.”

Nazim offers a piece of advice for any aspiring franchisees:  “To succeed in business, you must believe in your product.  Papa Johns pizza is exceptional, and customers love to come back for more.  The product quality helps grow repeat business and backed up by a great team who are all hungry to succeed as much as we are, means someone can start at the bottom and work up to become a successful multi-unit franchisee just like me.”

Amit Pancholi, Director of Business Development at Papa Johns in the UK confirms:  “Since joining Papa Johns, Nazim has demonstrated the skills and drive to build a portfolio of successful stores providing employment for an extended team.  I’m inspired by Nazim’s focus and passion for his business and look forward to continuing to support him and his team in the future.  Where else in the QSR industry can a talented individual like Nazim realize his aspirations of owning and growing his own business in this way, other than with Papa Johns?” For further information please visit:

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