Name: Steve Malarkey
Location: Warrington
​​​​​​Number of Stores: 8

Name, location, how long have you been running your franchise?

Steve Mullarkey, Papa John’s FranchiseeI opened my first Warrington Papa John’s store at the end of 2013.  I now run 8 stores and I plan to open a total of 15 stores in the North West over the next few years.

What led you to invest in a franchise?

I had always wanted to start my own business.  I have a catering background and was looking for a quality offering in the sector.

Why did you choose the food sector, and why Papa John’s in particular?

Formerly I was a wine merchant and previous divisional director for leading hospitality brand Whitbread.  I have always been interested in the food sector.

Papa John’s is one of the largest pizza companies in the world, with more than 4,750 stores worldwide and is rapidly expanding in 36 markets around the globe.

I chose Papa John’s as it was very simply better than the competition.  The product’s freshness, quality and value for money is a recipe for success.  In addition, Papa John’s is an exciting company and committed to growth.  The head office staff’s enthusiasm for the future is impressive, they really believe this company is going places and I have to agree.

How do you ensure that you are one step ahead of the competition?

Papa John’s concept of ‘Better Ingredients, Better Pizza’ means we provide a superior product.  We combine this with excellent customer service and delivery times.  Training has been key to ensure our staff function well as a team and can maintain high service levels at all times.  Papa John’s has also introduced a customer service initiative: Rant and Rave which allows customers to supply immediate feedback.  This is brilliant as I can keep track on how we are doing and address any issues straight away.  This helps in constantly improving our service levels and keep customers coming back for more!

Do you find it a challenging industry to work in?

Starting any business has its challenges.  However, the incentive deal which was offered, was a great boost as Papa John’s provided budget for our marketing launch and contributed towards equipment to get us started.

What do you enjoy most about running your franchise?

I currently work in the shop about five days a week.  I like to be a ‘hands on’ manager and this way I know all my staff by name and can help out at peak times and often answer the phone to take orders.  I have also been keen to get involved and give back to our local community.  Staff have raised money for St Rocco’s, an independent Hospice and Charity, by donating 20p for every pizza sold during a week of trading, as well has having collection tins and posters in-store.

In relation to the future I am very excited!  I can’t wait to open more stores!  My family and some close friends will be heavily involved in running the enterprise and therefore instrumental in the success of the franchise.  This means I will be working with people I trust and that is a really exciting prospect for all of us!

What advice would you offer prospective franchisees?

If I had to give advice for prospective franchisees it would be to work hard and put the effort in. There is always a way around any obstacles but perseverance is important!