January 08, 2014 // Franchising.com // WHITEWATER, Wis. – Toppers Pizza’s (Toppers) fierce development across the Midwest is in full swing with no signs of slowing down. Through the dedication of its passionate franchisees, the eclectic pizza brand has been able to deliver innovative pizzas to its rapidly increasing fan base. On January 4, pizza lovers of Indianapolis will be able to rejoice in the opening of Toppers’ first location in the city at 910 West 10th Street.
For the restaurant’s grand opening, which is slated for Saturday, January 18, Toppers will reward the first 50 customers in line with free food for a year. Toppers’ debut in Indianapolis will be headed by Craig and Anne Hartwick, who will be opening the brand’s second location in Indiana.
"We are excited to have Craig and Anne drive our brand to the next level with our first opening in Indianapolis," said Toppers Chief Development Officer Chris Cheek. "Our franchisees are the most important component to our success, and we’re thrilled to add another location to our rapidly growing portfolio of restaurants in the Midwest."
The Hartwicks join Toppers with a wealth of business and managerial experience – Craig, armed with an MBA, has more than 20 years of experience in management, sales and business development, while Anne has worked in office management for more than 25 years. The couple, through Toppers, will immediately add 35 or more jobs to the community, with even more in the near future, as they plan to develop at least five more locations within the next seven years.
"We’re looking forward to becoming an active part of the Downtown & IUPUI communities, adding value to the lives of our team members and all those we come in contact with through Toppers," Craig said. "We want to be more than just a job, more than just a pizza joint. We want to help our employees and community grow."
In line with the brand’s community focus, the Hartwicks are enthusiastic about creating partnerships with the Indianapolis downtown community, including local hospitals and businesses. Additionally, with the restaurant located near a major university, IUPUI, (Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis), the couple is excited to become the go-to spot for the college community members.
Along with its ability to tap into the most influential demographic, the millennial generation, Toppers has made a name for itself as a pioneer of unique menu items. Toppers was the first delivery brand to capture the cheesy-bread marketplace with its famous TopperstixTM, made from handmade dough topped with garlic butter and cheese. The brand has never shied away from innovation, with creations like the El Cubano, Loaded Tot-zza, Mac ‘N Cheese, Smoky BBQ Chicken House Pizzas and dozens of other forward-thinking menu items.
Currently, the brand boasts locations throughout Wisconsin, Minnesota, Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois, North Carolina, Nebraska, Arkansas, Indiana and Texas.
"Our success is a direct result of the belief that our brand resonates with growth-minded and experienced restaurateurs who lead development," said Vice President of Marketing Scott Iversen. "The fun and unrivaled experience that we’ve cultivated across the system has not only enabled us to accumulate an earnest following, but has also allowed us to continue opening locations in prime growth markets."
As a growth-focused franchise, Toppers forecasts an impressive Q1 of 2014 with plans to build a larger presence across the Midwest throughout the year. The brand aims to reach 500 locations by 2020, primarily through the focused support of multi-unit operators.
"With 2014 offering new opportunities to exhibit success, this is a very exciting time for Toppers," Iversen said. "As we continue to bring on accomplished entrepreneurs like the Hartwicks, we’re well prepared to continue with this solid growth trajectory nationwide."
In 1991, Toppers Pizza began its quest to become the best pizza company in the world by killing it on every detail of the customer experience. Headquartered in Whitewater, Wis., Toppers takes a unique approach to the crowded pizza segment by cooking up mouthwatering specialty pizzas that start with their fresh, made-from-scratch dough, smothered in real Wisconsin cheese and finished with outrageous toppings such as French fried onions, oven-roasted tomatoes, mac ‘n cheese and tater tots. Toppers’ claim to fame comes in the form of Topperstix™, arguably the planet’s most addictively delicious cheesy breadstix. The Toppers empire encompasses 53 restaurants across 10 states and, with its rapid expansion, is in the midst of Midwest and national domination. In 2013, Entrepreneur Magazine ranked Toppers as one of the top 500 franchises in the U.S., Nation’s Restaurant News declared the brand as one of the 50 breakout chains of the year, and Toppers received a No. 58 spot in Pizza Today’s top 100 pizza companies. For more information on Toppers, visit www.toppers.com, www.facebook.com/ToppersRocks or www.twitter.com/ToppersPizza.
SOURCE Toppers Pizza