Web superiority leads Papa John's charge

Following major investment into its technical capabilities, Papa John's is experiencing a significant increase in pizzas ordered online - giving franchisees a further boost to their businesses

It has been said that one of the key factors in the success of a modern business is its presence on the internet, the usability of its site and the company's willingness to invest in its further development. All of which makes the future look ever brighter for Papa John's and its franchise partners, after the pizza delivery and takeaway specialist recorded unrivalled web sales in the first half of 2007 following a major overhaul of its UK site.

A little over a year ago, only three per cent of Papa John's sales were completed online, but a massive investment in the latest EPOS technology, along with a redesign of www.papajohns.co.uk and a new e-marketing strategy, has seen that figure increase to almost one fifth.

In terms of percentage of sales though the web, that now makes Papa John's the most popular online ordering chain in the UK - and Marketing Director Jean Michel Fabre believes the company's franchise partners will continue to see more and more benefit from the internet efforts.

He says: 'We have focused very heavily on user friendliness and making the customer experience as good as possible, that is what encourages our users to return on a regular basis. The site really concentrates on being fast and convenient, but also offers great imagery of the food available, the opportunity to repeat a previous order and even the chance to make an advance order to be delivered at a later date - these are all features that we have received great feedback from.

'What is fantastic is that this growth has not been about offering pizza eaters internet-only discounts, it has been about offering them a quality service where they can select their meal with peace of mind knowing exactly what they are getting and when they are getting it. We have spent around £2 million throughout the system to ensure that the Papa John's website raises the bar for the industry and we will continue to invest in this key area.'

Papa John's, which has over 3,000 stores worldwide, has also tapped into popular sites at key times of the day to ensure that hungry consumers are directed to its site, along with heavily merchandising the URL on all of its printed literature throughout the UK.

With all this in place alongside an ambitious new store opening plan, Papa John's looks to have laid the foundations for a bright future, and Franchise Development Director David Sweeney reveals that many entrepreneurs are recognising the benefits of joining the business.

He says: 'I think things like the web development have shown people that Papa John's is more than capable of competing, and succeeding, against anyone in the marketplace. The difference is that we still have massive growth potential in terms of opening clusters of stores so a lot of business people are seeing more opportunity with Papa John's than with other franchise brands. That is fantastic because it is bringing us a great calibre of franchise partner and there is a real buzz around Papa John's.'