Toppers Pizza has been growing fast. This summer alone, the Wisconsin-based pizza brand added five stores in five different states to its existing roster of over 70 locations. Leading that charge is David Biederman, Toppers’ chief development officer.
Biederman learned the franchise model at a young age, working for his franchisee father before eventually building a career on the corporate side of the industry. Now Biederman believes that the franchise model is an essential tool to help entrepreneurs realize their dreams of business ownership.
1851: How did you get into franchising?
Biederman: It’s hard to say. In a way, I’ve never really not been in franchising. My father was a franchisee, and I started working for him when I was 11 or 12. I was introduced to the model pretty early, and it feels like I’ve never done anything else. So I grew up with insight into the franchisee side of the business, and as I grew older and got some business experience I started to become interested in the corporate side. Eventually I found an opportunity in corporate for a large franchise brand, and I decided to take it. I worked with a few different brands before I eventually discovered Toppers.
1851: What do you love about franchising?
Biederman: I love helping people realize their dream of business ownership. I get to meet so many different types of people who have always wanted to own a business, and the franchise model allows them to do that. It’s a very special thing to be able to help that dream come true for people.
1851: What do you wish would change in franchising?
Biederman: I think there are a lot of misconceptions about what franchising is from a consumer perspective. Many people don’t understand that franchisees are small business owners who are out there every day working hard to secure their futures. Most Toppers stores are not owned by Toppers, they are owned by local entrepreneurs. If I could change anything, it would be getting consumers to really understand and appreciate that each store is essentially an independent business.
1851: What makes a great franchisee?
Biederman: A great franchisee has to be ambitious and self-starting, but they also have to really appreciate the model that we’ve developed. The model has been tested and proven, so a franchisee has to be able to implement that to get themselves off the ground. Then it’s just a matter of putting in the work to execute the model every day.
1851: What’s the most important thing that drives a prospective franchisee to sign up?
Biederman: I think that a passion for the brand is the most important driver for prospective franchisees. Almost everyone who is looking into franchise ownership understands that being a business owner takes a lot of time and work, so they want to put in that time and effort for a brand or product that they really believe in. We’ve always found that the easiest sales are with prospects who already know and love our brand, and they tend to be the most successful owners as well.