Zulfiqar Haidar and his brother Iftikhar run five Papa John’s in Scotland. The pizza loving, business minded, duo have been named as Papa John’s International Small Business Franchisees of the year for 2016-2017 and also Papa John’s UK Franchisees of the year and have also been twice winners of the Scottish Asian Business awards.
Zulfiqar Haidar, joined Papa John’s as a franchisee around 16 years ago.
“Before joining Papa John’s, I was involved in the family retail business. I helped my family run a convenience store. I also had a few other roles including selling advertising space at The Big Issue for several years.
It’s been quite a journey! It was a chance conversation which first introduced myself and my family to the world of food and drink and Papa John’s and it soon sparked our interest! A close friend had visited the USA and came back saying ‘everyone was going crazy about this pizza company called Papa John’s!’ We decided to take a look.
The now famous food franchise offered the chance for the whole family to become involved in a business. But at the time, Papa John’s was in its infancy in the UK, so to set up the very first Papa John’s in Scotland needed a huge degree of commitment from both us and Papa John’s. However, we overcame the challenges and launched in Glasgow with my mom making the pizzas, my brother looking after the numbers, my sister on customer service, myself, plus a delivery driver!
At the time there was very little awareness of Papa John’s in Glasgow so news spread by word of mouth. 'Wow this is lovely' was the comment we heard again and again about the quality pizza we turned out and soon we had quite a reputation for creating the best pizza in town! Our focus on quality is key. Papa John’s concept of: BETTER INGREDIENTS. BETTER PIZZA. Means customers keep coming back for more plus they tell their friends.
We now run five Papa John’s in Glasgow, Paisley and most recently Hamilton. Over the years, opening each store has become easier. There is so much more awareness now! Also recruitment and marketing are more straight forward as what you do for one store works for the others. I am able to spend much less time on the business compared to working flat out when we started!!
However, I am only able to achieve this work-life balance now, as I have some great staff. Over the five outlets, we have 260 employees and 15 very good store managers and supervisors. To be able to delegate, I need to be able to trust my senior staff 100%, recognise their commitment and give them the space to do their jobs. As a result, this frees-up my time.
Numbers are not my strongest point, so I have an accountant and book-keeper. I have learned playing to your strengths is an essential part of good business sense. It also means I don’t need to be hunting down invoices or searching through spreadsheets – I leave that up to my experts!
Economies of scale and great staff, means my role has changed to business owner and overall supervisor. When we first started we never thought owning more stores would give us more free time, but it does! My wife and family are particularly happy that we can spend more time together.
Papa John’s has offered us a secure future. However, it has now become far more than that as it also represents the livelihoods of our people. We will be opening more stores in Scotland soon and this will offer our staff the chance to progress. Our aim is to create more new jobs for the local community as we grow."
Former pizza delivery driver Siddhartha Chirumamilla became a franchisee five years ago and now runs his ninth Papa John's business.
New franchisee Dave Foster is set to become a ‘big cheese’ in Cheshire as he follows in the footsteps of his brother who runs Papa John’s in Dundee.
Papa John’s, has announced its newest franchisee, Vijay Kumar has opened the Company’s latest store in Blackpool.
Papa John’s has announced the opening of its Hull store. New franchisee Rohit Pahwa and his brother Lohit will run Hull and have ambitious plans to open up 20 Papa John’s within the next five years.
Ahmed Eldessouki runs eight Papa John’s in the South East, from Bath to Burgess Hill to Brighton and a few in-between.