December 28, 2012 // Franchising.com // WHITEWATER, WI – The big pizza chains serve their purpose: mediocre food; mediocre promises; mediocre connections. Toppers Pizza, a 49-unit eclectic pizza delivery franchise brand, doesn’t follow those characteristics. The Toppers brand continues to elevate consumers’ perception of what a great pizza place should offer with its second location in Wauwatosa (6810 W. State St), which opened on December, 27th, 2012.
When Toppers’ CEO Scott Gittrich decided to rebel against big box pizza chains, he did so with a methodical vision to test and test again every aspect of his pizza-concept. Starting off with the simple goal of recapturing the magic of a made-from-scratch pizza in a sea of cookie cutter chains, Gittrich laid the foundation for his vision. More than 20 years later, his Whitewater-based pizza brand is showcasing its growth potential, as it now comes armed with 49 locations.
Along with its ability to tap into the most influential demographic, 18-34 year olds, Toppers has made a name for itself as innovators of unique menu items. Toppers was the first delivery brand to capture the cheesy bread marketplace with its famous Topperstix™, made from handmade dough topped with garlic butter and cheese. Toppers has never shied away from innovation with its Mac ‘N Cheese, Potato Topper, Cool C-B-R (Chicken-Bacon-Ranch), and Hangover Helper House Pizzas, Buffalo Wings, Q’ZA’s (a pizza style quesadilla), Oven-toasted Grinders, and dozens of other menu items. Differentiating itself from the competition, 70 percent of Toppers’ sales come from items not traditionally found on competitors’ menus.
The new Wauwatosa location is part of a larger growth strategy for Toppers Pizza’s saturation of the Midwest. Beyond Wauwatosa, Toppers’ 2012 footsteps are focused on its exponential growth plan to reach 150 restaurants by the end of 2015 and 500 by 2020. The company already has 15 new locations under contract to be built by the end of 2013, with the goal of opening a total of 30 next year. Currently, Toppers currently has 49 locations in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Kentucky, Ohio, North Carolina, Indiana, Nebraska and Texas. The brand is also looking to expand their franchise footprint in Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri in 2013.
“As we grow, like a balloon, throughout Wisconsin and into surrounding states and then nationwide, we want to maintain a stronghold on top-tier franchisees. By doing so, we can maintain our core culture, our brand evolution, and our methodical growth pattern,” said Scott Iversen, Toppers Pizza Director of Marketing , noting that the new Wauwatosa Toppers features the brand’s newest blueprint with an updated, vibrant, “chill”-friendly atmosphere.
When the big chains are down, Toppers has remained up, taking names and gripping its share of the $40-plus-billlion pizza industry. In 2012, Toppers increased average unit volumes and system-wide sales, opening 18 stores by year end. Why the upswing?
“The reason for our success is simple, meaning that we are not one of the ‘Wal-Marts’ of the industry. The big chains have lost identity and brand connection,” Gittrich said. “Our customers are fanatical about our brand. Our quirkiness and edginess has given our brand character, so we have been able to continue our growth and bonding with an untapped national demographic: the 18-34-year olds.”
With a mission to be the best pizza company in the world by killing it on every detail of the customer experience, Toppers Pizza is a 49-unit eclectic pizza delivery franchise brand, headquartered in Whitewater, WI. Toppers takes a unique approach to the crowded pizza segment by appealing to the young, and young at heart in an irreverent way that totally separates them from the competition. Ranked in Entrepreneur Magazine’s top 500 franchises in 2011, Toppers’ menu includes 18 house pizzas; the franchise’s signature product line Topperstix; Oven-Toasted Grinders; Buffalo Wings; Q'Zas (a pizza style quesadilla); and cold drinks. The brand has strongly established itself in Wisconsin, and is now in the midst of Midwest and then national growth. By focusing on Toppers’ demographic friendly markets, Toppers is able to continue its building of a fanatical relationship with its customer base. Toppers growth was celebrated in 2009 by Chain Store Age, an industry publication that measures quick service restaurant growth over the past five years, and ranked Toppers on their overachievers list of the Top 50 Fastest Growing Chain Restaurants in the United States. Toppers was also recognized as a member of the 2012 Future 50 by Restaurant Business, as one of the fastest growing emerging chains in America. For more information on Toppers, visit Toppers.com
SOURCE Toppers Pizza