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Toppers President and Founder Reveals Why He Left to Start a ‘Better’ Pizza Chain

August 17, 2017 • Company Growth

It often takes an insider to know how to build a better mousetrap, or, in this case, a pizza chain.

Enter Scott Gittrich, who worked at Domino’s Pizza Inc. (DPZ) for more than seven years, then went on to found his own pizza chain, called Toppers Pizza, with locations mostly in the Midwest.

Gittrich started out in the pizza business at age 20 as a delivery driver for Domino’s in Illinois. The year was 1984, at a time when pizza delivery, like mobile ordering is today, was an emerging concept that not every pizzeria, or customer, fully understood. He took a leap of faith, dropped out of college and decided to get in on this newfangled idea of delivery.

Read the full interview here: https://www.thestreet.com/story/14268887/1/this-ex-domino-s-employee-reveals-why-he-left-to-start-a-better-pizza-chain.html

Check out Toppers founder, Scott Gittrich, on Cheddar talking about what he knows best.

August 9, 2017 • Company Growth

Toppers Pizza has expanded their franchise presence behind a desire to do pizza better. That’s been the motivating factor for Toppers Pizza’s founder and president Scott Gittrich since he founded the brand more than 25 years ago. Gittrich was a guest recently on Cheddar where he touched on the journey to growing to nearly 100 units and how they are taking on the corporate pizza chains, as well as what makes a great franchisee for Toppers. “A great franchisee is somebody who has a passion for pizza, a passion for restaurants, loves to work with people – and people that are in communities that are ready for a pizza like ours,” Gittrich told Cheddar. Toppers Pizza currently has 80 locations and plans to open 16 in 2017, with plans to hit the milestone 100th location in 2018. Watch more here.

Toppers voted as one of America’s 35 Favorite Pizza Chains of 2017

August 7, 2017 • Company Growth

There’s a new pizza favorite in town. This Midwest chain rocketed to the top of the list this year thanks to a loyal following and the craveable Topperstix. The brand has grown rapidly, doubling in size in just three years. Founded in 1993 by an industry veteran, Toppers puts customer service and fresh toppings at the forefront of its brand. A new format allows customers to interact with staff to see their pizzas get created. It’s a recipe for success and loyalty.

Click here to read full story.

Franchise Times: East Coast multi-unit operator looks for second brand and found it with Toppers

Company Growth

Delivery rules

The industry is again enamored with delivery. Higher-end restaurants that traditionally haven’t delivered have jumped in the space, facilitated by third parties who charge both eatery and customer for their service. You may recall a similar preoccupation when Domino’s pizza promised 30-minute delivery 50-plus years ago. It discontinued the guarantee nearly 25 years ago. Yet delivery lives on.
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PMQ Magazine: “The price is fixed: Toppers Pizza tests the waters with a new pricing model for unlimited toppings”

April 4, 2017 • Company Growth

Last August, Whitewater, Wisconsin-based Toppers Pizza launched a “Straight-Up Pricing” model in all 76 of its stores. According to vice president of marketing Scott Iversen, any pizza with more than two toppings now costs the same, regardless of how many toppings a customer piles onto his pie—and Toppers offers 30-plus toppings to choose from.

When PMQ heard this news, we wanted to know how the unlimited-topping change affected Toppers’ food costs, what the brand’s franchisees thought, and if sales increased or decreased. Iversen answers all of our questions and more in this exclusive—and insightful—interview. Could your pizzeria be a candidate for fixed pricing, too?

Read the full Q&A here.

Toppers Tops the List of Most Popular Pizza Chains in Daily Meal Survey

March 27, 2017 • Company Growth

Chain pizza may take its share of knocks, but there’s no denying its popularity with the American people. Still, the most popular chains may not be the most famous ones. Toppers Pizza, with about 70 locations in 12 states and headquartered in Whitewater, Wisconsin, topped a new readers’-favorite survey by the Daily Meal, while California Pizza Kitchen and Chicago-based Giordano’s came in second and third, respectively.

The website released its fourth annual America’s 35 Favorite Pizza Chains list recently, noting that it’s strictly a popularity contest, not a commentary on quality (which the site covers separately in its annual 101 Best Pizzas in America survey). “We asked [readers] to vote only for chains that they’ve been to, of course, but also asked them to choose those they truly respect,” the Daily Meal states. “They were told to take into account the freshness and deliciousness of the product as well as the service, convenience, menu diversity, and overall experience. Some voted based on a loyalty to local chains, while others preferred the big guys.”

And make no mistake—the big guys fared pretty well. Domino’s claimed the No. 4 spot, while take-and-bake leader Papa Murphy’s came in at No. 5. Pizza Hut scored the No. 6 spot and Papa John’s made the list at No. 8.

Toppers “rocketed to the top of the list this year thanks to a loyal following and the craveable Topperstix,” the article continues. “The brand has grown rapidly, doubling in size in just three years. Founded in 1993 by an industry veteran, Toppers puts customer service and fresh toppings at the forefront of its brand. A new format allows customers to interact with staff to see their pizzas get created. It’s a formula for success and loyalty.”

The article goes on to praise California Pizza Kitchen for its innovative artisan pies, including the Thai Chicken, Habanero Carnitas and California Club. As for Giordano’s, “its massive deep-dish pies are a Chicago must-eat.”

The Top 10 list looks like this:

1. Toppers Pizza
2. California Pizza Kitchen
3. Giordano’s Restaurant & Pizzeria
4. Domino’s Pizza
5. Papa Murphy’s
6. Pizza Hut
7. Gino’s East
8. Papa John’s
9. Uno Chicago Grill
10. Lou Malnati’s

Click here to see the full list.

Click here for full article.

Full Circle Path: Toppers Pizza Adds New Franchise Development Manager

March 16, 2017 • Company Growth

Alanna Del Rios, the new franchise development manager at Whitewater-based Toppers Pizza, took a full circle path to her current position with the company. A top sales performer at both the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Valassis, in her new role, the Twin Lakes resident will be working to process, qualify, and move prospects through the Toppers Pizza franchise sales system. On top of that, she will also be focused on new lead generation for the rapidly expanding franchise better pizza brand.
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Toppers is expanding Charlotte footprint, with newest store opening March 18, 2017

March 13, 2017 • Company Growth

Toppers Pizza wants to snag a larger market share in the Charlotte region. Mike Wielechowski and Nate Fuller — Charlotte attorneys and self-proclaimed pizza lovers— have signed on as franchisees for the brand.

Toppers menu is set apart by its mix of unique toppings, hand-crafted dough and fresh — never frozen —cheese from Wisconsin.
The initial goal is to open six locations.

“The hope is to do even more than that,” Wielechowski says.

That list includes a location in the Ballantyne Corners Shopping Center at the intersection of N. Community House Road and Ballantyne Commons Parkway.

It will open at 11 a.m. on Thursday, March 16, with a grand-opening celebration and giveaway slated for Saturday, March 18.

The pair also opened a Fort Mill restaurant last fall.

Wielechowski and Fuller were drawn to the brand because of its product mix and business model.

Toppers’ menu is set apart by its mix of unique toppings, hand-crafted dough and fresh — never frozen — cheese from Wisconsin.

Click here to learn more on Toppers plans to have at least 15 locations in operation over the next few years.