World News – UK – Papa John polls eat to help fraud


UK takeout pizza chain Papa John’s is investigating allegations that taxpayer money has been fraudulently claimed under the Eat Out to Help Out scheme

Papa John franchisee Raheel Choudhary has claimed over £ 250,000 of non-existent meals during the diet, according to the Daily Mail

He told the BBC: « We are confident that we have fully complied with the criteria set by the government »

« We will be extremely worried and disappointed if they turn out to be true. All of Papa John’s UK stores are operated by franchisees and we have made it very clear to all franchisees that we believe it is unlikely that they are eligible to participate in Eat Out To Help Out (EOTHO), ”a spokesperson told the BBC

« It is important that our investigation be completely completed before drawing any conclusions, but if a franchisee has inappropriately participated in EOTHO, they will have violated their franchise agreement with us, and we will ask them to do it right. »

The Mail said it conducted its investigation with the help of several whistleblowers who worked for M’s stores Chaudhary

The newspaper claims that Mr. Chaudhary has asked staff to process thousands of fake meals under this scheme at 57 of the 61 branches it owns, resulting in an erroneous claim of hundreds of thousands of pounds

In one incident, the Mail alleges 13 orders were processed in less than a minute at the Tunbridge Wells branch, although staff were told that eating was prohibited in the store, which no ‘has no tables

It is alleged that branch managers were given targets of £ 500 to £ 600 per day for stores with turnover below £ 10,000 per week, or a target of £ 1,000 per day for large branches with turnover over £ 10 10,000 per week

The newspaper added that M Chaudhary had asked his staff to record payments made by « ghost hedges » as payment vouchers

A representative of M Chaudhary disputed the value of claims made under the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, saying it was £ 185,015 and not the alleged £ 250,000

M Chaudhary said in a statement, “Of my 61 franchises, 40 have seating capacity, and we have implemented the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ program in all of these 40 stores Monday through Wednesday in August.

« All customers who have benefited from the program have eaten in store and we are confident that we have fully complied with the criteria set by the government

A representative of M Chaudhary said the Eat Out to Help Out program accounted for 9% of total orders in August

M Chaudhary said: « When the government program ended, we implemented our own discount offer in September. »

M Chaudhary said that, on average, its stores receive an average of 32 customers per day at the 40 stores that participated in the program in August

However, the BBC understands that franchisees have been made clear by Papa John’s GB Ltd that the franchise will not participate in the program

Franchisees are bound by agreements that require them to follow all guidelines issued by Papa John’s GB Ltd, as well as to meet and adhere to ethical standards and regulatory obligations

It is also understood that the digital cashier software, which is frequently updated remotely by head office, has never included a voucher button for the Eat Out to Help Out program, and the program cannot also not be used on Papa John’s UK website

A spokesperson for HMRC said: « It is our duty to protect taxpayer dollars and we will not hesitate to act against those who try to break the rules

« We have integrated checks into the Eat Out to Help Out program to prevent fraud and protect public money We will verify complaints and take appropriate action to withhold or recover payments deemed dishonest or inaccurate

Papa John’s Pizza, Franchising

News from around the world – EN – Papa John’s investigates fraud claim


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