4 functional factors fueling pizzeria design trends

January 24, 2017 • Company Growth

Let’s face it: The restaurant industry has got some serious competition from the array of businesses now making dining at home an increasingly popular option for consumers. And that holds doubly true in the pizza restaurant business, where take-out and delivery have always played a big role.

But most brands have made their dine-in businesses integral to their success, and since even the most committed hermits crawl out from their caves for a dinner out once in a while, savvy restaurateurs know that the experience their brands provide for those dining in may be more critical in today’s ultra-competitive pizza business than ever before.

For one brand that has launched a anew store prototype, Toppers Pizza, the subject is top of mind. The chain has spent the past year immersed in the redesign process, which has resulted in a more open kitchen design, dubbed the Toppers Show Kitchen.

“Much of our design was driven from how our customers have been using our restaurants and the direction the business is heading,” Toppers Chief Development Officer David Biederman told PizzaMarketplace in an interview following the opening of the first store sporting the new look in Milwaukee. “We are seeing more and more people coming in and picking up pizza in-store. The online ordering is gaining popularity. We are changing from just a pizza factory. Now, our customers are coming in and seeing us. They are seeing our brand and the quality of the product that we make. We wanted to allow our customers to actually see what goes into the pizza that they are excited to eat. That’s where the inspiration of the Show Kitchen stemmed from.”

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Toppers Pizza #40 on the Franchise Times Fast & Serious List

January 3, 2017 • Company Growth

NEW • Scott Gittrich, founder of Toppers Pizza, quibbles a bit when asked his strategy for building his brand. He believes it’s about “ruthlessly guarding and building the concept and unit profitability. I’m not sure that’s a strategy as much as it is blocking and tackling.” Gittrich started Toppers 25 years ago with one restaurant, and in the last three years, has grown to more than 73 units and $60 million in systemwide sales. An in-your-face marketing campaign is one differentiator. “Our brand voice is the cocky young person, kind of dismiss the big guys and talk smack,” he says. But the “biggest one by far” is Toppers’ online ordering capabilities for customers, in which the brand has invested heavily. Forty-two percent of orders come in online. “Our customers love the site and use it in a whole bunch of unique ways,” he says. But Gittrich is not stopping there. “We look out 10 to 15 years and say you know, there’s going to be self-driving cars, there’s going to be automation in kitchens where robots are making pizzas, customers are going to be ordering in kiosks in restaurants. Those kinds of things are not a question of if, they’re a question of when and who’s going to adopt those things,” he says. “It’s our job to look at those things.”

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