We asked Chris Cheek, chief development officer at Toppers Pizza, what role diversity plays in his brand's recruitment and development process. Here's what he had to say.
Toppers Pizza is one of the fastest-growing pizza chains of the past 3 years, essentially doubling in size since 2010. At 50 stores, we are at the beginning of a period of even more accelerated growth. Our goal, to reach 500 pizza stores by 2020, can only be realized by our focus on recruiting new franchisees who, among other things, are able to win the pizza delivery competition at the local community level.
If you look at the changing population of the United States in the last 12 to 15 years, we understand and embrace the strategic imperative that, to be successful in the growth of financially successful new stores, our franchise owners must be able to bring it with passion and build something special at the local level. Franchise owners with strong ties to their local communities should be better operators of those businesses, better recruiters of talent, and better at understanding cultural norms. Our development philosophy is based on recruiting the best local owners we can identify. As our business communities continue to grow more diverse, our franchise recruiting must follow suit.
There is an additional aspect of diversity as it relates to our target franchise candidates. Toppers targets franchise candidates who desire single units, as well as multi-unit franchise candidates. Moreover, we don't require restaurant experience to become a Toppers franchisee. As such, we cast a wide net when advertising our franchise opportunity, and we process franchise candidates across a wide spectrum of business backgrounds.
The intended outcome of this approach is to develop a franchise community that today and in the future will be composed of owners who bring a diverse collection of previous business experiences and success to our brand and franchise community. In fact, we currently have in place a program to match Toppers' experienced managers as partners with new franchisees who have passion, local knowledge, and capital to invest, but lack pizza or restaurant experience. We call this the "Topperator" program and it will further expand the types of franchisees we can recruit.
For franchisors looking to grow big by successfully winning at the local level, it is a strategic objective to develop a franchise community of individuals with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and size of companies. Our brand will benefit from the learning and innovation that naturally follows, putting us on the path to build something special... together.
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