Taste success with the US No. 1 pizza delivery chain

Having risen to the top of the US pizza market with its 'Better Ingredients Better Pizza' pledge, Papa John's is expanding its UK network with the aim of establishing its pizza as the nation's favourite. Rachel Spaul reports

'Better pizza'

Voted the best pizza in 70 separate US surveys and named 'Best Pizza Chain in America' for seven consecutive years, Papa John's lays claim to being one of the largest and most successful pizza chains in America.

Since its foundation in 1984 Papa John's has grown to become an international operation with around 3,000 stores in 30 markets. It first entered the UK in 2000 and steadily expanded to 70 Franchise Partners. With the recent appointment of Ian Saunders as Managing Director, and using his knowledge and experience establishing US companies in the UK, Papa John's aims to rapidly expand its network.

'The prospects for the right people are excellent, given that we operate in one of the fastest growing sectors of the market,' says David Sweeney, Business Development Director. 'Pizza is universally popular and research points to UK pizza consumption expanding to similar levels as in the US.'

'Sales have gone from strength to strength'

One of the top stores in the UK and Single Unit Franchise Partner of the Year 2006', Papa John's Edinburgh is setting the benchmark.
When the store opened in May 2005 it was greeted with substantial interest and praise for the quality of the pizza and the look of the store.

'We had queues out the door,' recalls Andrew Eastcroft, who co-owns the Edinburgh franchise with his father George. 'It is now one of the top stores and sales have gone from strength to strength.'

Andrew is no stranger to franchising having worked for two well-known fast food franchises while at university. The success of these operations inspired him to become a Franchise Partner.

'Papa John's is an up and coming brand with substantial success in the US,' he reasons. 'They have good ideas for moving the brand forward in the UK, a new-look store concept, and ambition.'

He points to a 'great' support structure that includes training, marketing and operational support. He adds: 'If we need anything the operations manager is only a phone call away, and we have a great relationship with the team. I think that Ian Saunders is going to be a real asset to the company and will help drive the company forward.'

'In charge of my destiny'

Grant Wiszniewski launched his Gateshead store in June 2002 following a career in accountancy. He was looking for a business that would give him financial security and give him a higher than average chance of success.

'I was bored with my previous occupation and wanted a career where | was fully in control of my destiny, but with operational systems in place so the learning curve wouldn't be as steep as it would be starting from scratch,' he explains. 'Papa John's is a growing brand in this country and I wanted to be a the start of what I consider will be a major success.

'The system has been tried and tested over many years, is relatively easy to learn and provides guidelines to follow. As part of my training I received two weeks' on-site training at another franchised store, which proved to be very worthwhile and gave me an insight into the business. I have since found the support of the very experienced marketing department particularly beneficial.' The Gateshead store is exceeding expectations with a current turnover of £350,000 per annum, and Grant is aiming to increase this by raising brand awareness locally and opening more stores.

'Better Systems'

Papa John's operates a rigorous, two-way selection process, giving prospective Franchise Partners every opportunity to question the company.

'We're looking for people that are flexible, teachable and determined with a strong service ethic and ambitions to open more than one store,' David outlines. 'In return they will be rewarded with the independence and financial success that running a business brings, and the personal satisfaction that delighting customers daily creates.'

Franchise Partners benefit from the many advantages of joining an established and successful team, including substantial training and support services such as initial in-store and classroom training over five weeks, a bespoke computer system for store and business management, and hands-on support from experienced Franchise Business Managers. Franchise Partners will also benefit from almost 1,000 marketing initiatives aimed at boosting brand recognition within the community.

Speaking at a recent Papa John's conference CEO Nigel Travis spoke of the massive opportunities that exist for Franchise Partners to exploit the brand's premium quality 'Better Ingredients Better Pizza' pledge. He said: 'In Ian Saunders the UK has one of the best operators in the business and we believe that Papa John's is now in a position to drive forward and really announce itself to consumers as the pizza of choice.'