In December 2019, Iain Heron gave up his job as a franchise business manager for Papa John’s, moved from Durham to central Scotland with his family and opened four franchised Papa John’s stores of his own.
Iain explains: “It’s been quite an exciting time! Perhaps a little stressful, but I like solving challenges! It’s great to have my whole family on-board as we begin this new chapter. My partner Lindsey sold her florist business in Durham and has helped me set up while she still works part-time in another florist shop. My mum and brother who have worked in the pizza industry before, have also joined us on our journey. My mum’s now our above store manager, looking after training and standards and my brother is on the ground, managing day to day work in the stores.”
‘…with us every step of the way’
“It was a big move and certainly quite a commitment and Papa John’s has been right behind us to help make this happen. The central team has been really helpful and I’m very thankful for that. I just felt it was the right time to invest in our future in this way. Papa John’s brand continues to get stronger and the company is growing in the UK and I can continue to contribute to that growth, now through our store numbers.
“I’ve got a long history in the pizza industry. I’ve previously worked at Papa John’s QCC as a franchise business manager helping franchisees develop. I also oversaw more than 30 pizza stores for a franchisee at a competitor for more than six years. I was even a pizza delivery driver when I was a student, so I believe I know the industry pretty well.
“However, regardless of my background, the process of becoming a franchisee is the same for everyone applying to Papa John’s! I still needed to develop and present a detailed business plan; the cash flow forecast for three years and submit an outline of my ideas for growing sales. The only difference on this occasion was that I was the one being interviewed, instead of me being the interviewer!”
‘One of the highlights has been seeing my staff progress’
“My application was successful, and with Papa John’s support, I bought an existing outlet in Dundee then opened two new stores in Stirling and Livingston. I have also purchased the existing Ayr Papa John’s which is being currently refurbished and will open again under our management very soon.
“I run my Papa John’s in a properly structured way. We have teams and store managers who I meet with regularly to see how we can make improvements. One of the highlights so far has been seeing how staff have progressed in such a short time. Already we have people ready to step up in their roles, for example, several of our assistant managers are now on target to become store managers and this is great to see.
“Previously, I have looked after the businesses of others and so now it’s a case of managing my own emotions when I see the bills come in and of course the takings. It’s all very real. However, running your own business means you can make changes quickly and see the results just as quickly too which is very rewarding.
“My goal now is to keep the four stores turning over well and to improve sales and then grow year-on-year. I will continue to develop my multi-unit portfolio, aiming to acquire more Papa John’s stores as and when they become available. Who knows what the future holds? I do know one thing for sure: it will certainly involve plenty of great Papa John’s pizza!”