Toppers Pizza Delivers Fourth Location to the Windy City
Whitewater - November 1st, 2012
The new South Loop location is located at 2 East Eighth Street and will open on November 7. Leading the revolt against mediocrity in the fast casual pizza category is long-time Chicagoan Robin Pearce, known for her ability to quickly connect communities with flavor during her time at restaurant groups like Corner Bakery and Flat Top Stir-Fry Grill.
“Toppers Pizza has been on my radar for a long-time. Their unique approach to the pizza category really excites me because this is not just another pizza delivery chain,” Pearce said. “I love that it’s different from other pizza outlets, and its off-beat marketing voice resonates well with its fanatics because it talks with the customer, not at them,” she added.
To celebrate the opening, Toppers will host a grand opening event on November 29 from 11am – 6pm, offering its fanatical customers some outrageous deals on some of their favorite Toppers menu items, including $1 single Topperstix (their World Famous version of cheesy breadsticks) and $1 one-topping MyZAs (a personal-sized pizza cut in four slices), and other prizes and giveaways to be awarded throughout the celebration. (Fanatics should watch facebook.com/toppersrocks for details).
“When we open a location, it truly is a celebration. No fake grand openings with boring ribbon cuttings; we go for the grand slam with the way we open, the way we connect with our customers, and the tastes we offer on our menu,” said Scott Gittrich, CEO of the emerging chain and former Domino’s Pizza delivery driver. “Trust me; I quickly learned what not to do with our customer bonds. This is their party, not ours.”
When 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. Nearly 20 years later, his Whitewater-based pizza brand is showcasing its growth potential, as it now comes armed with 47 locations.
Along with its ability to tap into the most influential 18-34-year old demographic, Toppers has made a name for itself as innovators of unique menu items, something that draws franchisees both young and old, making it an appealing option for a family business. 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. 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'Zas (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 Chicago location is part of a larger growth strategy for Toppers Pizza’s saturation of the Midwest. Beyond Chicago, 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 47 locations in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Kentucky, Ohio, North Carolina, Indiana, Nebraska and Texas. Upcoming openings include locations in Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Arkansas.
“As we grow, like a balloon, out of 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 Chicago 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 2011, Toppers increased average unit volumes and system-wide sales, opening four stores with a goal of opening a total of 30 next year. 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 47-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 www.toppers.com.