Growing pizza franchise makes its mark in two new states, continues to give Midwestern pizza fans a breath of fresh air.
Toppers Pizza is growing quickly throughout the U.S., with no signs of slowing. In line with the pizza concept’s focus on saturating the Midwest market, Toppers is proud to announce a multi-unit partnership with Sioux Falls-based Nordic Venture Partners. The team will open six locations throughout South Dakota and Iowa over the next four years. Local resident and restaurant veteran Shane Quail will spearhead the growth in the area, with the backing of Nordic Venture Partners, led by the team of partners Paul Schock and Chad Hatch.
“Our sales are up, our momentum is at an all-time high and we’re not going to stop growing until Toppers achieves world domination,” said Mark Cairns, Director of Franchise Development at Toppers. “Our agreement with Shane and the team at Nordic Venture Partners is a great step in securing our foothold as the best pizza brand in the country, and will help achieve our goal of expanding outward from Wisconsin into new markets that are hungry for a pizza brand that won’t settle.”
Sioux Falls native Quail has an extensive restaurant background, with stints in every type of restaurant concept from fast casual to fine dining. His most recent outpost was at Panera Bread, where he helped manage multiple units and led the brand to open five locations in 11 months in the area.
Army veteran Hatch, a private equity investor for more than 15 years with two Dairy Queens in his portfolio, was looking for his next business venture since expansion opportunities with Dairy Queen were limited. Hatch’s daughter, who attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, made him aware of Toppers and how it had captured the elusive attention of the millennial generation. The culture and attitude of the brand – and the idea that pizza is a recession-proof business model – prompted he and Schock to partner with Shane and join the Toppers team.
“Starting my career in the restaurant industry as a dishwasher and working my way up has helped me truly understand the entire process from top to bottom,” said Quail. “Paul and Chad’s background in private equity and business, and their deep roots in the Sioux Falls community, makes us the perfect team to bring Toppers to South Dakota and Iowa. We were inspired by the passion behind the corporate team and the unwavering support that’s given to franchisees.”
Since Toppers Founder Scott Gittrich left Domino’s to “do pizza better” in 1991, the brand has developed a cult-like following and continues to grow nationally with a rising number of multi-unit deals. Quail and Nordic Venture Partners will open six stores by 2019; three in Sioux Falls, one in Brookings, S.D. and two in Sioux City, Iowa, with the first set to open in early 2016.
After focusing on Wisconsin markets for the first 20 years and selling out the state and coming close in nearby Minnesota, Toppers has moved on to open new locations in surrounding states locations in Michigan, Texas, Kentucky, Illinois, Ohio, Nebraska, Indiana, North Carolina and Arkansas. The current focus is on bridging the gap between Omaha and Minnesota, with Quail and Nordic Venture Partners leading the charge.
“Toppers has formulated the perfect recipe to appeal to the highly coveted millennial generation, but also to savvy investors who like the fresh attitude that Toppers brings to the stability and consistency of the pizza industry,” said Scott Iversen, Vice President of Marketing. “Our unique product offerings, irreverent brand voice and passion for top-notch pizza have fueled our growth into new markets and with multi-unit deals like this, we’re well on our way to achieving our goal of 700 locations by 2025.”
A brand dedicated to customer service and inimitable offerings shows its success in numbers. According to the Technomic Pizza Consumer Trend Report, of the top 50 pizza companies in the U.S., Toppers Pizza was #1 in overall sales increases from 2012 to 2013 at 17.2%. In the first two months of 2015, Toppers Pizza’s sales are up 33% system-wide. The brand reached 70 units in 2015 and much of the company’s growth has come from existing franchisees choosing to open additional locations, a testament to the strength of the brand.