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Description: Papa John's is an international pizza franchise with over 4,900 stores worldwide in 40 markets. Opportunities: Franchise opportunities available throughout the UK Business Type: Franchise. Minimum Investment: £100,000. Training Provided: Yes.

Advice From the Experts: Anthony Round, Business Development Manager at Papa John’s

The Papa John's franchise has proved itself an enduringly successful business model. The popularity of the brand's pizza – along with excellent customer feedback – has led to sweeping expansion across the UK, with no sign of demand slowing. In this 'Advice From the Experts' Success Story, we get some valuable insight from Anthony Round, Business Development Manager, on why the stores have been so successful with Papa John's franchisees

Anthony Round was appointed Business Development Manager of Papa John’s in 2012 and has more than 20 years’ experience in the franchise industry, with previous senior roles at Dominos, Pizza Hut, Dwyer Group and Cash Generators.

Anthony Round of Papa John's

Can you tell us about the history of the Papa John's franchise?

Papa John’s was founded in the USA in 1984 and there are now well over 320 stores across the UK and more than 4,900 stores in 40 international markets and territories.

John Schnatter, Papa John’s founder, has a story which is an inspiration to any franchisee. At high school he worked as a dishwasher at Rocky’s in Jefferson, Indiana. He later sold his prized car to fund used restaurant equipment to make and sell his own pizza from a converted broom cupboard in his father’s tavern.

After graduating from Ball State University in 1983, John returned to Jeffersonville where his father owned a tavern: Mick's Lounge, which was $64,000 in debt. John's dad asked him to put his newly acquired business degree to work and help pull the tavern out of debt. John decreased the debt by increasing the price of the pool tables and lowering the price of beer. Once Mick's was on its way to showing a profit, John began to focus again on his first true love: pizza.

The folks at Mick's loved the pizza so much that John was able to expand by moving into adjoining space in 1984, eventually leading to the opening of the first Papa John's restaurant in 1985. Today, the Papa John’s franchise operates around the world.

Papa John's Bishops Stortford opening with town crier

Describe your own role within the business.

I am responsible for helping existing Papa John’s franchisees expand their retail footprint in addition to supporting new franchisees joining the company. This can mean anything from meeting new recruits, helping franchisees through the process of opening new stores, working with our marketing and PR team, to internal liaison about the status of store openings. It’s a busy role!

The first UK Papa John’s store opened in 2000. How has the UK restaurant landscape changed over the past 16 years?

The pizza market has grown rapidly and continues to do so, and a number of changes have been introduced in the industry over the years. Home delivery was a major introduction, moving the sector away from restaurants and towards take-out and delivery stores. More recently, online ordering is taking over as the nation’s favourite way to order a pizza treat.

What makes Papa John’s a successful business model for franchisees?

For any business to succeed there has to be demand for the product. Papa John’s is the only branded pizza chain to use 100% fresh dough, giving a better natural flavour and our unique tomato sauce is made from the best Californian tomatoes, picked and packed from vine to can in just six hours. Our focus on ‘Better Ingredients, Better Pizza’ means our product is superior compared with the competition. We combine a great pizza with excellent customer service and customers simply keep coming back for more!

Recent new store openings continue to exceed our expectations in terms of sales.

Man putting pizzas in oven

What are the traits of a successful Papa John’s franchisee?

To become a successful Papa John’s franchisee you need to be motivated, enthusiastic, hard-working and want to be part of a growing team. Exceptional interpersonal and people skills are essential, as you'll be dealing with customers as well as leading your team on a daily basis. In addition to excellent written and spoken communication skills, you'll have to be an organiser with a can-do attitude: someone who gets things done. You'll have to be dedicated and passionate enough to adapt to a proven way of working.

Plus, you'll need the ability to roll your sleeves up and get stuck in, which means everything from making pizza through to managing staff.

We also actively encourage ambitious franchisees who are keen to open multiple Papa John’s. We have introduced a special franchisee incentive scheme to help new and existing franchisees expand further. With deals on equipment, fees and help with marketing there has never been a better time to start a Papa John’s franchise.

Describe a typical day in the life of a Papa John’s franchisee.

Varied! Franchisees can spend their days managing or training staff, marketing, overseeing operations, talking to customers or visiting new store locations! No two days are ever the same.

Papa John’s topped its record for new UK store openings last year. What are the secrets to the brand’s franchising success in the UK market?

As well as a great product and customer service, our franchisees are backed up at head office by a dedicated and experienced team. Enthusiasm, hard work and professionalism are traits that are the cornerstone of a successful brand like Papa John’s and we encourage this in our franchisees also.

What are the ultimate goals for Papa John’s in terms of expansion?

We are proactively aiming at further UK and European expansion. We can’t talk about specifics but our goal is high!

Is there anything else you would like to add?

The pizza industry is a wonderful sector in which to work! Pizza is a popular product which, even through times of economic challenge, never seems to lose its appeal. Over the years it has been a privilege to see our franchisees start out and grow their portfolios of Papa John’s stores.

In the future, I am looking forward to recruiting more like-minded individuals and helping them taste success with Papa John’s.

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