Papa John's franchise

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Papa John’s is a pizza business giant with almost 6,000 locations worldwide. The brand offers consumers eat-in dining, delivery or takeout options and a choice of products that include pizzas, chicken wings, and garlic bread.

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Headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, Papa John’s began in 1984 and has offered franchise opportunities since 1985. In 2022 the business had sales of more than £3.6 billion with average sales per store of more than £1 million per year. 

Papa John’s at a glance:

  • UK stores: More than 400
  • Required Investor net worth: £750,000
  • Required investor liquid cash: £100,000
  • Min. investment: £170,000
  • Max. investment: £225,000
  • Standard franchise term: 10 years

Can I start a Papa John's franchise?

Getting into a Papa John’s franchise is not exactly a walk in the park. To start with, you’ll need fairly deep pockets to meet the start-up costs, which can run to almost one million pounds depending on the type of store you choose and where you are located. You’ll also need at least £100k in liquid cash and net worth of £750,000. Then, if you can cover the financial requirements, Papa John’s also expects that at least one franchise partner should have a business background and one partner must have substantial restaurant or retail management experience. 

Lastly, the company prefers franchisees who will operate at least five Papa John’s outlets, and you’ll need to live in the area of your restaurants throughout the term of their contracts.

The good news is, that if you can designate a suitable general manager to run the restaurant and they take the necessary training, you can operate your Papa John’s as a passive investment.

How much does a Papa John's franchise cost?

Initial set-up costs for a Papa John’s franchise range from £170,000 to £225,000, ranking as low. This reflects the fact that the majority of Papa John’s outlets operate as take-out and delivery only businesses, with no scope for sit-in dining and with much smaller premises and fit-out costs.

The initial franchise fee is £18,500. There are no fee discounts or other franchise incentives for military veterans.

After opening, you are required to pay an array of ongoing fees and charges. They include:

  • Royalty fee: 5% to 6% of net sales
  • Digital fee: 1.5% of all internet (app) derived sales
  • Marketing fund: 4% net sales, (non-traditional outlets pay 25% of 5% fee)
  • Papa Card transactions: 2% Papa Card redemptions
  • Co-op contributions: Minimum 2% net sales 
  • Local advertising fund: Minimum 8% net sales
  • On site installation fee: £2,500 for standard 2-day installation, then £1,000 per extra day
  • Software maintenance fee: £375 per month
  • Help desk: Flat £80 per month
  • Training fee: £150 per year
  • Renewal fee: £1,000 to £4,000
  • Transfer fee: £4,000

Estimated key costs to open a Papa John’s franchise:

Key Costs GuideLowHigh
Franchise fee£18,500£18,500
Real estate brokerage fees£0£10,000
Construction costs/leasehold improvements£25,000£405,000
New store map package expenditures£0£1,050
Furniture and fixtures£37,000£320,000
Information system£0£30,000
On-site support £0£2,500
On-site installation fee£0£5,000
Technology and maintenance£0£1,125
Additional tools and supplies£1,000£2,500
First month’s rent £0£5,000
Security deposit, other deposits and insurance£1,000£8,500
Opening inventory and supplies£2,000£10,000
Training expenses£2,000£30,000
Grand opening expenses£3,000£10,000
Miscellaneous expenses£2,000£20,000

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Are Papa John's franchises profitable?

Yes, but only modestly. The average gross sales of a UK-based Papa John’s restaurant in 2023 was £1,135,000, but after all expenses, the reported annual income for the franchisee was only £67,000 and could even be as low as £40,000. This income level is either in line with or well below the average UK franchise owner income (all UK franchisees) of £60,000 per year.

What is the failure rate for a Papa John’s franchise?

Low to moderate. The failure rate for a Papa John’s franchise is 2% in the first year, rising to 6% by year three.

Why should you start a Papa John's franchise?

Papa John’s competes in a tough segment of the fast-food industry, battling for sales alongside giants like Domino’s and Pizza Hut. Despite average annual sales of more than £1,000,000 per location, profit margins in the pizza business are notoriously tight, and this is reflected in the modest net income that Papa John’s franchisees can expect. That said, the UK pizza industry remains strong and if you can start your store at the low end of the investment cost spectrum, it may still be possible to make a solid income from this type of business. In conclusion, if you can keep your profit expectations on the low side and you can maintain a tight grip on start-up and ongoing costs, a Papa John’s franchise may work for you.

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What are the franchise territory policies for Papa John's?

Franchisees can only operate their restaurant at a specific location as identified in their franchise agreement and may not conduct business at any site other than the restaurant. Franchisees may not relocate the restaurant without written consent of the company. Papa John’s promises not to locate or license another Papa John’s restaurant within a specified radius of the restaurant, generally 1.5 miles. In densely populated urban areas, the territory may be reduced to a one-half mile radius. 

What franchise resources does Papa John's offer?

Papa John’s support for franchisees includes:

  • Training: Papa John’s provides initial training on the operation of the restaurant to the principal operator and the senior management team. All team members must complete new team member orientation training and be certified in a minimum of three of the seven operations stations. The training program takes approximately six weeks to complete. The company reserves the right to require any of the franchisee’s employees or prospective employees to take part in training and instruction as it deems necessary. The principal operator and all restaurant managers may also be required to attend additional training that Papa John’s determines to be necessary or appropriate.
  • Marketing support: Papa John’s provides promotional and other marketing support for their franchisees.
  • Third-party financing: Papa John’s provides limited financial support for investors seeking franchise funding. Alternatively you may be able to obtain more economical and flexible funding solutions from the many independent funders who provide business loans to franchise operators.

What is the process for starting a Papa John's franchise?

It begins with an application. Start the process today.

Secure franchise funding with Swoop

Starting a new franchise can be an exciting opportunity, but it’s easy to get lost in a maze of business loan applications that can make funding your new pizza business like too much hard work. Instead, cut out the hassle and cut to the chase. Swoop has the best lenders for the best franchises across the UK. Just tell us what you need and leave the rest to us.

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Written by

Chris Godfrey

Chris is a freelance copywriter and content creator. He has been active in the marketing, advertising, and publishing industries for more than twenty-five years. Writing for Barclays Bank, Metro Bank, Wells Fargo, ABN Amro, Quidco, Legal and General, Inshur Zego, AIG, Met Life, State Farm, Direct Line, insurers and pension funds, his words have appeared online and in print to inform, entertain and explain the complex world of consumer and business finance and insurance.

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