Backed by a Better Product, Enhanced Technology and Drive to Never Settle, Toppers Emerges as a Leader in Competitive Pizza Industry
As the world’s major pizza chains race to be the best low-cost provider of all things pizza to all people everywhere, Scott Gittrich, the founder and CEO of Toppers Pizza, realized an unmet need. People craved something more than cheap, homogenous delivery—they wanted a better-tasting pizza and they wanted it fast. By taking the quality ingredients and innovative concepts often seen in the fast-casual world and offering it to their customers through quick delivery, Toppers emerged as a fierce competitor in the $40 billion pizza industry—and so far, this plan of attack is working. Backed by a better pizza, enhanced technology and steadfast growth plans, Toppers is well on its way to dominating the competition: the 2016 Technomic Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report recently ranked Toppers as one of the top-five fastest-growing brands in the entire limited-service pizza restaurant category.
Every year, Technomic, a Chicago-based food industry consulting and research firm, compiles a list of 500 restaurant chains that report winning sales and significant system-wide growth. In 2015, 73% of all Toppers stores boasted record sales, boosting overall system-wide sales up 22.5% from 2014, and, in the last two years alone, the brand has grown from 46 to 73 restaurants. This impressive growth led to Technomic ranking the brand as one of the fastest-growing limited-service pizza restaurants in the U.S. Meanwhile, major chains like Pizza Hut, Domino’s and Papa John’s didn’t even crack the top five.
“We’ve been ranked by Technomic as one of the fastest-growing pizza chains for a reason—people are tired of not having a great choice for pizza delivery,” said Scott Iversen, vice president of marketing for Toppers. “Our advantage is that we can do exactly what all these bigger chains are doing, which is quick delivery, but with a huge advantage of offering a better, and much more high-quality product. That’s why, as we continue to grow, our goal is to never stop hustling—we want to continue showing more and more customers that they don’t have to settle for mediocre pizza.”
Better pizza isn’t the only thing adding to Toppers’ competitive edge. In an era where online food ordering is set to overtake traditional telephone orders for the first time, more and more restaurants are intensifying their investments in delivery service to stave off the competition. Last year, a new and improved Toppers.com was launched as an e-commerce site. Enhancements were made to simplify and speed up the online ordering process, and a new responsive design allowed customers to have a pizza delivered to their door with the touch of a button on their smartphones. Since the new website was unveiled in August 2015, Toppers has seen a noticeable spike in traffic, with nearly 42% of system-wide orders being placed online—a 35% jump from 2014.
“Our website has really helped Toppers stand out from our competitors. From placing an order to the moment it’s delivered, the process is better, faster and more engaging. There are fewer clicks involved when placing an order. Building the perfect customized pizza is extremely intuitive. And once the order is placed, it’s delivered in as little as 25 minutes—our drivers will even run the pizza to the door from their car to ensure that the food is extra hot,” said Bridget Vetter, Toppers’ manager of marketing and public relations. “By investing in better technology, we’ve really been able to deliver a better customer experience all around, and that’s helped us achieve even stronger unit-level economics.”
Fueled by an unrelenting drive to never settle, Toppers plans to continue going head-to-head against some of the country’s largest pizza chains in the years to come. By continuing to recruit franchisees with strong multi-unit restaurant experience—a tactic that has already yielded three strong new franchisee groups representing 14 restaurants—Toppers aims to open 12 to 15 new stores in 2016. And that’s just the beginning.
“Being ranked by Technomic as one of the fastest-growing pizza chains is something we’re taking to heart. Our expectations are high for the future,” Iversen said. “Our goal is to open 25 percent more stores each year than the prior year. We plan to do this by continuing to up our game so that we’re better than the big chains in every way possible.”
Capitalizing on the booming better pizza category and fueled by the passion of Founder & President Scott Gittrich and a team of experienced industry veterans, Toppers Pizza has formulated the perfect recipe to appeal to both pizza enthusiasts and savvy investors. Headquartered in Wisconsin, Toppers is one of the fastest growing better-pizza chains in the United States. The brand has doubled in size over the last three years and completely sold out three states based on growth spurred by both existing franchisees and established multi-unit operators. Now with restaurants in 12 states and with territories immediately available across the country, Toppers plans to reach 700 stores in the U.S. within 10 years. Toppers is committed to quality and consistency throughout the system, and plans to maintain corporate ownership of 25 percent of all locations while the brand expands to continuously improve on best practices and product development. Toppers fanatics love the brand’s fresh, handmade and customizable pizza baked in about 6 minutes and delivered extremely fast, with more than a million combinations of fresh, high quality toppings, and the brand’s signature line of flavored Topperstix and baked Buffalo wings. In 2014, Entrepreneur Magazine ranked Toppers as one of the top 500 franchises in the U.S and QSR Magazine listed the company as one of the year’s Best Franchise Deals. For more information on how to join the rapidly growing Toppers family and for a sneak peek into the Toppers experience, visit http://www.toppersfranchise.com.