Backed by a Superior Product and Quick Delivery, Tony Ellis Will Guide the Brand into the Next Generation of Technology
Boldly positioned on every pizza box that lands in the hands of hungry customers, Toppers Pizza’s rallying cry says it all: “Never Settle.”
It might seem like a simple phrase, but it carries huge meaning. “Never Settle” serves as the guiding mantra for everything Toppers does. From the food and customer service to delivery and technology, it’s about being the very best at what they do – and that’s leading the better-pizza category. Now, as Toppers continues to embark on a quest to gain the upper hand in a competitive industry, the brand is proud to announce the recent hire of Tony Ellis, Toppers’ first-ever Vice President of Information Technology. As a key member of the leadership team, his job is to take the brand’s overall technology strategy, innovation and execution to the next level.
“Our goal is to continue to show more and more pizza fanatics that they don’t have to settle for mediocre pizza. But in order to do so, we need to keep upping our game so that we’re better than the big chains in every way. It’s a never-ending process of growing and evolving, and that applies to the backbone of Toppers’ system, too—our technology,” said Scott Gittrich, founder and president of Toppers Pizza. “We’re excited to bring Tony and his expertise to the Toppers team. Our driving force has always been to provide a better pizza, quicker delivery, top-notch technology and unmatched customer service. Now, we’re taking a major step forward as a brand by focusing our efforts on developing even better technology.”
Ellis has spent his entire career working in technology. For more than 12 years, he helped lead the IT Operations for BuySeasons, the leading online retailer of costumes, accessories, party supplies and décor. Planning, implementing and supporting both hardware and software, Ellis helped grow BuySeasons’ revenue from single digit to triple digit millions. In 2014, Ellis also co-founded his own company, Aperture Labs—a full-service software consulting agency specializing in e-commerce and web development.
In early 2016, when Ellis decided it was time to explore new opportunities, he turned to a company that he had long been familiar with—Toppers Pizza. It’s a relationship that dates as far back as Ellis’ college days—as a student at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, he had spent many late nights finding solace in the brand’s famed Topperstix. Decades later, everything came full circle, and Ellis realized he could apply the same knowledge he had acquired while driving high-growth at BuySeasons to Toppers, a brand that he believed was on the cusp of even bigger and better things. Having a company culture that he could easily identify with didn’t hurt either.
“When contemplating my next career move, I was on the hunt for one important thing—I wanted something where I could wake up every single morning and be able to say to myself, ‘I love my job.’ The moment you walk into Toppers’ headquarters, you see the core values right there on the wall—it says to have fun and do everything with passion,” Ellis said. “The first time I met Scott Gittrich, I was blown away by his intense entrepreneurial spirit, and you can truly feel his vision. It was very clear that Toppers aligned very closely with what I was looking for—a company with high-growth potential and a fun environment that rewards you for working hard. They give you the opportunity to make a huge difference.”
To help Toppers achieve its full growth potential, Ellis came on board with two key goals in mind: the brand needed both a cloud-first and mobile-first approach to technology.
“Technology is a building block within an organization, and if we have a strong foundation, we can grow quickly. This starts with having an enhanced cloud-based system that’ll give us scalability. The cloud is essentially an enabler—it enables companies that don’t have a giant IT department to get those same full benefits without being slowed down as we continue to grow,” Ellis said. “We also want to give our customers what they want, and that starts with improving our mobile experience. Ease-of-use will remain a top priority as we look at ways to move forward with our technology.”
On an even larger scale, Ellis is working on building—and helping to guide—the next generation platform that will ultimately power Toppers’ e-commerce website and growing system of 74 stores. From the brand’s back-end POS system to the consumer-facing Toppers.com, Ellis says this new project will completely reimagine the technology fueling Toppers from the ground up—a change that will ultimately put the brand one step closer to industry-wide domination.
“My job is to make sure technology is a support system for our brand—not something that will slow us down. We want to continue focusing on what we’re really good at and what sets us apart from other pizza brands. By introducing better, faster and more streamlined technology to our system, we’ll be able to grow at a quicker rate than ever before,” Ellis said.
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.