Amit Pancholi, UK director of business development, speaks to MCA about growing the brand’s presence on the high street and beyond

Papa John’s growth strategy will focus on opening more high street locations, partnering with venues and leisure operators and exploring flexible franchise opportunities, Amit Pancholi, UK director of business development, tells MCA.

“There are opportunities everywhere. For example, we are looking at ‘fortressing’ existing towns which means adding further stores in a large territory so we can serve customers better,” Pancholi said. “In this way we can grow our brand presence.

“We’d like people to think ‘let’s get a Papa John’s’ rather than ‘let’s order a pizza’. To achieve this, we need to be on everyone’s mind and be where our customers are.”

By opening new sites in more compact trade zones, the pizza chain aims to create convenience for customers and maintain quick delivery times while expanding its reach, according to Pancholi.

“Our growth plan means we will continue to open more high street stores across the nation, helping our existing franchisees penetrate further into their trade zones,” Pancholi said. “To achieve this, we are working closely with our franchisees to help them open in the best locations where we may not have stores today.

“This means careful territory mapping and even creating more compact trade zones.”

The chain is also keen to increase its partnerships with leisure venues to extend its reach in “non-traditional locations” by opening stores that can serve both venue visitors and local residents through delivery.

It opened two new Papa John’s in partnership with holiday park operator Haven this year at Berwick Holiday Park and Wild Duck, bringing its holiday park estate to 28 stores.

“[The growth strategy] may mean partners investing in a full Papa John’s store which can deliver to both a venue’s visitors plus local community residents, or adding branded mobile delivery units serving customers at several sites on a holiday resort for example,” Pancholi added.

“We work with sports stadiums, holiday parks and other leisure venues to see how we can be flexible with our model to create the right win-win with those established players, so they can generate a new revenue stream.”

“For us it’s about being where our customers are so we are looking for ‘white spaces’.”

The chain introduced a delivery option for selected outdoor spaces across the country to enable customers to order Papa John’s to outdoor locations, such as the park or the beach. It has also recently opened new sites in Stourbridge, Barnstaple, Long Eaton, Felixstowe, and Castleford, among others.

Following Pancholi’s appointment last summer, Papa John’s made further changes to its senior team, with the appointment of Rob Payne as managing director in July and the promotion of Liz Williams to chief international operating officer in May.