Neil Ainsworth of Bunn Leisure, Selsey
Owned by Cove Communities, Bunn Leisure’s South Coast resort is a multi-award winning, premier lifestyle holiday park with activities and entertainment for all the family. Papa John’s has now joined the menu of extensive facilities at Selsey, which include a mile-long beach, nature reserve, swimming pool and leisure complex plus many outdoor sports, bowling, fun fair, Waterfront Arcade and a visiting circus!
Neil Ainsworth, Head of Commercial at Cove Communities, explains how the Papa John’s at Selsey, West Sussex, has rapidly become a popular addition to the resort.
What sets Bunn Leisure Holiday Parks Apart?
“For many people, our holiday parks are a great chance get-away. A range of accommodation set in stunning locations is designed for safe, family friendly relaxation and fun where everyone can do as much or as little as they choose. We welcome many first-time visitors as well as our regulars who come back to enjoy the Bunn Leisure staycation experience year after year.”
Describe the process of opening the Selsey store.
“We were looking for a successful global brand to add value and match the professionalism of what we offer but also add a little of the fun factor too! We were keen to add an additional income stream by working with an organization which aligned with our values. As a major player, Papa John’s top-quality pizza is well known and liked, and the team were really receptive to help create the type of operation which would suit our park.
“I first contacted Papa John’s through the company’s franchise web enquiry form and was called back by Phil Gaffer, franchise sales and business development manager, Papa John’s UK. Phil and I later met up with Justin Gilbert, director of business development, Papa John’s UK at the start of 2020, to discuss development options and see how we could move forwards.
“From then on, the process of delivery of the Selsey store was pretty quick! Within a month, the Papa John’s construction team had commissioned a team to work on the project to convert one of our existing buildings, which was originally a small entertainment space, into the Papa John’s store we know today!
“In the interim, just like any other new Papa John’s franchisee, I was required to supply a business plan which included detailed research into the proposition. Papa John’s provided a template which I adapted, as our business differs slightly from the standard high-street retail stores. Once the final plan was approved, we were ready to go!”
How did the design/planning and build of the project work?
“We are fortunate as we already own the land and buildings at the Selsey resort. Papa John’s handled all the planning applications and full turn-key opening of the store which included design and fit out. We supplied the terminals for gas and electricity and connected the water and drainage and Papa John’s organized the rest. We had our own construction suppliers working elsewhere on site, so asked them to quote for some of the work too, but Papa John’s were able to secure a much more cost-effective deal for us. The relationship between Bunn Leisure and Papa John’s really is a partnership working together towards the same goal of delivering a great product and service to our valued customers.”
How long was the planning and build process?
“It can take as little as 25 days to open a new store. However, due to the Pandemic there were necessarily a few delays. We were keen to open as quickly as we could after the Lockdown and everyone pulled together to deliver. Any challenges we did face during the whole process were down to the Pandemic, which was not in our control. We needed to ensure the finish and impact was perfect and the store was presented ‘right’ first time which we did to great opening success.”
How flexible is the franchise to match your needs?
“The Papa John’s team had a flexible approach and they were ‘hungry’ to work with us to create the outcome we were looking for. Like us, they like to innovate to win!
“We are unusual as we wanted a hybrid store, delivering to our own resort guests and also the local community. Unlike the Papa John’s sited on other holiday parks in the UK, we are open 364 days per year. When the park is closed to guests for the winter, our Papa John’s will still be serving the local community. This was important to us, as it means we can maintain an income stream and keep our team employed all year round.
“To ensure we could deliver to our own resort guests, Papa John’s adapted their ordering app on our behalf. The app now identifies every building we have, to ensure ease of delivery. The outcome is that we can now deliver to every one of our 2,500 accommodation units plus our staff offices (should the team wish to order their favorite pizza!).
“That flexibility and ability to fulfil our requirements means our visitors can arrive, relax and enjoy, and now have the treat of Papa John’s delivered right to their doorstep!”
What training has been provided?
“Normally, the store manager plus other senior team members would be trained at Papa John’s quality control center in Milton Keynes. The manager would then train the team in store and they would also undertake online training courses organised through Papa John’s. Our Papa John’s manager had previous experience, so this helped speed up the process. We were handed the store keys on a Friday; training of the team took place the following week with help from Papa John’s support staff and we launched a few days after that. We quickly knew we were onto a winner and were thankful for the detailed training which ensured our team were well prepared to satisfy the huge demand for pizza we experienced in those first few weeks!”
Can you describe the phased opening at Selsey?
“Because we were opening during our peak summer holiday time, we managed the launch in stages. The first step was to start delivering to our own guests and owners through phone and collection orders. Following the roll-out of the app, we were able to deliver successfully to our accommodation units on site. The final phase of opening was to be able to supply and satisfy the customers of the local village of Selsey through orders placed on the website or through the app too. We’ve been super busy since opening and have had higher than anticipated sales.”
How popular is the new store proving to be with your customers?
“Feedback has been really positive! After all everyone loves pizza! It’s a treat that can be enjoyed as a family for a special occasion, holiday celebration or just a great meal together. The addition of a franchised Papa John’s store to our resort has certainly ‘gone down well’ with our customers.”
How was your overall experience working with Papa John’s?
“Everyone at Papa John’s is highly professional and experienced. They came over very well and were always complimentary about our team. I know one of the Papa John’s directors has already been to Selsey on a staycation with his family and the company is considering acquiring one of our accommodation units for the benefit of staff use in the future! I’m sure those guests will also enjoy the treat of a Papa John’s pizza during their visit!”