Papa John’s has appointed 20-year food industry veteran Tom Allen as its UK head of research and development.

Allen has worked as a consultant in the UK and overseas for brands including Marks & Spencer, Pret A Manager, KFC and Domino’s in Australia through GWF Bakery and Charcuterie.

He has also worked for a high-end sandwich supplier, where his customers included Buckingham Palace, Sky TV and the Houses of Parliament, and also set up, ran and sold an artisan bakery and coffee shop.

“I am excited to join the Papa John’s team,” explained Allen, adding that, although a large brand, the Papa John’s management team was small enough to be flexible and could respond quickly to changing customer trends.

“This means I have the scope to innovate and really make a difference with new product introductions, while maintaining our focus on the quality ingredients that make up our ‘old favourites’ and best-selling pizzas.”

Allen will also be working with Papa John’s 400-plus UK franchise stores.

“I will spend some time visiting stores and meeting franchisees, managers and staff.  It is critically important that we manage the cost of goods and any wastage, so I need to have direct feedback from franchisees to see how we can continue to make improvements.

“Franchisees often come up with some great new ideas for products and process improvements too.”