Papa John’s, the third largest pizza delivery chain in the US, has announced it plans to double its number of UK stores to 170 over the next three years, writes The Times. The group first entered the UK market eight years ago when it acquired the 205-storng Perfect Pizza chain for £20m. However, it suffered difficulties with franchise holders and sold the majority of the chain to Octopus Asset Management last year. It now believes that with a new management team in place and a £1.5m investment in technology linking its stores to an internet ordering system up, it has the factors in place to expand in the UK. It currently has 87 stores in the country, of which three are company owned and the rest franchised, but anticipates reaching 170 by 2010, with 10% being company owned. Nigel Travis, president and chief executive, said: “We believe there is an opportunity to get to 350 here over time, although we’re under no illusions it will be a tough ride.” He said the company would focus its expansion on traditional high street locations but that it was also keen to explore “non traditional sites” such as its two most recent outlets in Butlins. Travis also said the company was keen to boost its brand awareness in the UK, highlighting the quality of its pizzas and moving away from the price-based proposition of Perfect Pizza. The company, which has more than 3,000 units in 24 countries, is also in talks with a global entertainment group to open sites in sports stadiums and entertainment areas.