Toppers plans to expand its franchisee network and satisfy pizza lovers in new communities across the country.
Toppers Pizza, the QSR Pizza company focused on craveworthy recipes, with over 70 corporate and franchisee-owned locations primarily in Wisconsin and Minnesota, has announced that Great Plains Capital LLC has made a long-term minority equity investment in the business. Part of the capital will be used by the company to accelerate its growth plans and promote continued systemwide growth.
“I couldn’t be more excited about our partnership with Great Plains Capital and the impact they will have on our ability to grow — now is our time,” said Toppers Pizza CEO Scott Gittrich. “Throughout our 30-year history, consumer demand for delivery, technology, smaller restaurants, and ‘better’ food concepts has continued to grow steadily every single year. The COVID-19 pandemic effectively jolted those trends forward even more. Now, Toppers is perfectly positioned to grow significantly in the next few years. John Dills and the Great Plains Capital team bring resources that make a bright future even brighter.”
The Great Plains Capital investment comes as Toppers Pizza continues to grow and reach more customers. The company has driven steadily rising average unit volumes (“AUV”), including 13 consecutive quarters of same store sales increases. In addition to Topper’s delicious and food, Toppers’ well-positioned business model and technology suite have allowed the brand to thrive — 73% of Toppers systemwide sales came in through its proprietary digital platform, 72% came from menu items unique to Toppers, and 70% of off-premise sales came in through its first-party delivery program. These differentiators helped Toppers surpass a $1.1 million systemwide AUV and franchisee prospects are increasingly recognizing the brand’s exciting opportunity.
Fueled by this momentum, Toppers is making systemwide investments in franchise development, company store development, increased training and technology innovation. Looking ahead, Toppers plans to open 10 to 12 stores in 2022, followed by 20 to 30 per year in 2023 and 2024.
“Scott and the Toppers’ leadership team have built a highly attractive brand and we are thrilled to become their long-term partners,” said John Dills, CEO of Great Plains Capital. “Toppers has been satisfying loyal customers in their home state of Wisconsin for over 30 years. As the restaurant industry continues to evolve, we think Toppers is very well positioned to expand its store network nationally and bring their unique pizzas and menu items to more happy customers.”
[C Squared Advisors, LLC served as financial advisor and Cheng Cohen LLC served as legal counsel to Toppers. Ropes & Gray LLP served as Great Plains Capital’s legal counsel.]
Founded in 1991 as an alternative to big box pizza, Toppers is built on a bold attitude with the product to back it up. Headquartered in Whitewater, Wisconsin, 70+ Toppers locations are on a mission to redefine what customers should expect from QSR pizza. The menu features unique flavors, bold recipes, crave-worthy Topperstix, signature wings, specialty desserts and a growing selection of offerings for diverse lifestyles. By consistently giving customers what they want, Toppers has forged an untapped space in the pizza industry and is thriving in a digital first post-pandemic world. World class technology ranking among the top QSR pizza concepts, consistent menu innovation, a powerfully focused digital media strategy, and Gen Z-centric social media channels drive 70% of sales online for the brand. With franchisees achieving a $1,000,000+ average unit volume across the entire system and 12 consecutive quarters of same store sales increases, Toppers Pizza is primed for major growth and is looking for like-minded franchisees to join its system. For more information, visit https://www.toppers.com/franchise and follow the brand on Facebook and Instagram.
Great Plains Capital LLC is a private holding company that makes long-term investments in leading public and private companies. Great Plains Capital is based in Oakbrook Terrace, IL.