The most successful business partnerships are built on a foundation of trust and a strong relationship – and for many franchisees, those perfect partners can be found right within their own family. Specifically, the father-son dynamic is one that’s very prevalent in the franchising industry, and has been a winning combination at Toppers Pizza. Not only does it allow fathers to invest alongside their sons and strengthen their existing relationship, but provides an opportunity for fathers to guide their sons in creating something that can be passed along to their own children – and in many cases allows the sons to guide and teach their fathers too.
Two franchisees within the Toppers Pizza system have been able to leverage a strong father-son relationship to finding success with the Wisconsin-based better pizza brand.
Myron, Keith and Kevin Allen: Southern Minnesota Father and Sons Team Earn Franchisee of the Year Recognition
Myron Allen and his sons, Keith and Kevin, live in Chatfield, Minnesota and operate restaurants in nearby Rochester and St. Cloud. Myron, who actually comes from a manufacturing background, was approached by his son, Keith, with the idea of franchising with Toppers Pizza, ultimately joining the brand after doing their due diligence in August 2012.
“Keith was a loyal fan to the brand in college and thought it was a great idea to bring one to Rochester,” said Myron.
Just three months after signing with the brand, the West Rochester location was open. Two years passed, and the family saw so much success with the brand, the three decided to open another Rochester location along with a location in St. Cloud.
“I do the payroll and the financial stuff, Keith monitors the two stores in Rochester and Kevin takes care of the St. Cloud location. I will do whatever they tell me to do. From washing dishes to you name it. It’s a great working relationship and we all still like each other,” laughed Myron.
The Allen’s have seen great success since their beginnings with Toppers Pizza. In fact, the team was recently named Franchisee of the Year. Although Myron’s name is on the award, he explained, “All three of us are deserving of this. Myself, Keith and Kevin have created a great working relationship.”
Rocky Top Management: Father-in-Law Expands with Sons-In-Law to Create a Family Empire
Clayton Hartman has an extensive background within the franchising industry. He began franchising with Taco Johns and wanted to diversify his restaurant portfolio. At that point in time, his sons-in-law, Payden Stramel and Kevin Whalen, approached him about owning their own businesses. The three decided to invest in Toppers Pizza together.
“Both Payden and Kevin come from very diverse business backgrounds. One worked within the commercial real estate industry and the other has his MBA and worked for Apple. We cover a lot of ground,” said Hartman.
Hartman, who has franchising in his blood, added that he is “…extremely proud of sharing it with those ‘newer’ to the family.”
Rocky Top Management began franchising with Toppers in 2017 and the team has seen great success. Hartman attributes that success to the entire family.
“Friends and extended family members are investors, and the grandkids are already pizza makers,” he said. “It helps that their wives - my daughters - understand the business because they have seen it first hand while growing up. I made being home for dinner a big priority when raising a family, and it has turned into a big deal for Payden and Kevin as well.”
Nowadays, Hartman serves as a mentor to his sons-in-law and provides insight from his past franchising experience.
“Working alongside them has been the best business experience of my life. It has strengthened my relationships with them and I have even more respect for the two,” Hartman said proudly.