Emerging Franchisors Doing Awesome Things in Franchising: Toppers Pizza
Emerging Franchisors Doing Awesome Things in Franchising: Toppers Pizza

Toppers Pizza is engaging a strategic growth initiative in an effort to stay ahead of the competition.

Franchisee Justin Marten of Wisconsin-based Toppers Pizza has noticed a that there’s a strong growth pattern for the emerging pizza concept. According to Marten, who is working to open his fourth Toppers location, the growth of the brand in existing markets has helped his own ability to expand.

“With so much brand growth and exposure throughout Wisconsin, we had so many new customers that we couldn’t even service them all,” said Marten. “We need to expand now just to service all the customers who are already excited about Toppers.”

The brand hopes to be at 200 locations by 2022, and Toppers’ Director of Franchise Development Mark Cairns says that multi-unit growth like Marten’s is an essential piece of that strategy.

“Organic franchise growth is the best indication that the system is working,” said Cairns. “Getting existing franchisees to keep growing is a huge win for us, and I’d like to be at the point where half of our growth is coming from existing owners.”

But Cairns also notes that some of Toppers’ recent growth is attributable to industry trends. The popularity of new fast-casual pizza concepts has raised the overall level of excitement in the segment. Despite the fact that most fast-casual restaurants are an entirely different model than Toppers, their emergence has rocketed enthusiasm for the segment and put Toppers’ unique variation in the spotlight.

“Fast-casual has opened consumers to a fresher and more sophisticated style that we have actually been doing for a long time,” said Cairns. “Distinctive toppings and hand-crafted pizza are what we have always done, but we are really being recognized for it now.”

Cairns believes that renewed interest in pizza will help fuel the Toppers brand through its next milestone as they continue to climb toward 100 locations.

 “I think once we are over 100 stores, things are going to speed up more than we can even imagine, said Cairns. “We have a great amount of awesome territory yet to be developed.”