Papa John's, the market-leading pizza franchise, has recently announced that it has fully rolled out a UK-wide suite of e-learning materials delivered via an online portal for its franchisee network. Both store employees and franchise business owners within the Papa John's network will be able to gain access to the e-learning portal, which has been named 'ULearn', via the internet and using an in-store terminal or PC. This latest development demonstrates the franchise's approach to 'blended learning' for its training delivery; which is one of Papa John's core competencies. The ULearn system has been split into twelve core modular areas which are built to cover each essential area of the franchise. The system has been created by the training team at Papa John's GB Ltd, working under the Director of Training, Gavin Lilley. Gavin explained just how valuable the new system would be and said that it would be used for a variety of training purposes, from new-starter orientation through to advanced delivery skills and business techniques. Each training module has been designed for audio and visual channels, which gives the user a rich learning experience and provides franchisees with a powerful tool to assist with their staff training and development. Already, the UK portal has been further enhanced to allow Papa John's franchisee staff to carry out their Food Safety Level 2 training and certification online. Papa John's invests heavily in franchisee training and views it as an ongoing requirement. However, as Graham Lilley explains, the new e-learning system helps by allowing staff to become automatically certified online once they successfully complete the tests at the conclusion of each e-portal learning module. This same functionality also gives franchise owners the ability to monitor the progress of their team overall and highlight individual progress. This is particularly valuable to multi-unit franchisees who are responsible for several teams across different retail sites. The online nature of the system also makes it very simple to update. Lilley explained that this was a conscious decision for a number of reasons, but primarily to allow flexibility as the business changed. For example, when Papa John's introduces new recipes to its product line the system allows simple and automated communication to staff to train them on how to make the pizza in a series of steps and to make sure that the resulting product is both high-quality and consistent. These are both core success factors of any franchise and it's interesting to see how Papa John's is facilitating this with the careful implementation of new technology. Papa John's is already a highly successful franchise that is now becoming well known in the UK. Originally launched in the USA, it operated with the concept of using only high-quality pizza ingredients and fresh dough to craft better pizzas with an improved and natural flavour. This concept has been received with great enthusiasm in the UK and there are already eighty-eight franchisees operating 189 franchised units. And the goal of 200 units in place by the end of 2013 looks achievable for the brand. Papa John's also holds the position of being one of the world's biggest pizza companies, with an incredible 3,900 stores globally and rapid expansion across all thirty-three of its markets. The brand is also looking for potential investors wishing to buy into the franchise in the UK, particularly in the areas of Manchester, Yorkshire, the West and East Midlands, Scotland, the North East and Wales. At Franchise Expo we always recommend that potential franchisees look at core elements such as product quality, growth potential, brand recognition and commitment to training and development from the central franchisor when selecting possible investment opportunities. Papa John's offers all of these and is an exciting opportunity for those considering the fast-food franchise sector.