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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