A little over a decade ago, a then 20-year old Adam Oldenburg took a job as a delivery driver for Toppers Pizza. Little did he know at the time that his foray into the pizza industry would become a career.
Oldenburg, who rose through the ranks from delivery driver to manager to supervisor to corporate operations director was recently promoted to VP of Operations for Toppers Pizza.
“We want to ensure that our stores are successful and in this new role, my biggest focus is to do everything that I can to help our franchisees succeed. We win by executing great restaurants and being great business people. That's what I'm going to bring to the table for our franchisees."
Oldenburg is an example of one of the many Toppers team members who have found a career with the growing pizza franchise. Through a commitment to the brand’s core values, a “people first attitude”, and impressive results in recently managing operations at the corporate-owned Toppers Pizza locations, Oldenburg caught the eye of the executive team, and founder and president Scott Gittrich, early on.
“It's incredibly rewarding to have someone like Adam Oldenburg who started at Toppers Pizza as a delivery driver at 20 years old grow into the seasoned business person he is today, and the right and best person to lead Toppers Pizza into the future,” said Gittrich.
Since founding the pizza franchise more than 25 years ago, Gittrich has worked hard to recruit, develop and retain the best talent to take the brand into the future. The Wisconsin-based company has a goal to grow to 200 stores by 2022 and investing in a talented corporate team with a variety of skills, talents and backgrounds is one of the keys to that growth.
Identifying young talent within the system and developing them into members of the corporate team, and even into franchisees, has been a successful tactic for Toppers Pizza. However, Gittrich has also looked outward to find valuable additions to the corporate team.
“Early in our history, I bootstrapped the whole thing and for many years, I didn't make people decisions until it was, what I call, a proven need. But in recent years, I've been able to pull in expertise in advance and have a great blend of people. I'm looking for the right people that fit our culture. The executive team today is by far the strongest team of individuals I've ever worked with in business. We've hired each piece of the team with a willingness to take a long time to get the right person. We know who we are, we know who is a cultural fit, and we know what type of expertise we need to meet our challenges to reach 200 locations by 2022,” said Gittrich.
One example of adding expertise to the corporate team is the addition of David Biederman, who joined Toppers as chief development officer last fall. Biederman brought decades of restaurant industry experience with pivotal roles at Smashburger, and prior to that, Quizno’s and McDonald’s. Biederman joined an established team of corporate executives, as well as some other newer additions such as VP of Information Technology Tony Ellis and VP of Supply Chain Donette Beattie, who both joined the Toppers Pizza corporate team earlier in 2016.
With his experience in the restaurant industry, Biederman understands the value that complementing outside additions with development of home-grown talent like Oldenburg can bring to a growing restaurant chain.
“Adam is a very talented young man and you have a guy who spent his entire career in the system and is now the head of operations. As a growing brand with a smaller footprint than some of our competitors and without the multi-million marketing budget, we need to win on every detail in the restaurant and with people every day. Adam understands the Toppers culture and lifestyle. He is uniquely qualified to deliver that experience, but also to institutionalize it for our people and in our stores. I’m very excited for what he’s going to do,” said Biederman.
Toppers Pizza is set to open 16 locations in 2017, tying with 2014 as the biggest year for openings in the company’s history. The brand enters 2018 with momentum to continue that growth while also improving the in-store, delivery and online ordering experience.
In order to continue building on that momentum, Gittrich remains devoted to supporting his corporate team as the brand grows.
“My role is to make sure that the members of the Toppers team understand the vision for where we are headed so that together we can create the strategy for how we're going to attain that vision and accomplish our goals. That's my prime goal. We are very transparent with each other. We work together on everyone's opportunities and challenges. A strong rhythm of accountability is key. We hold each other accountable. I couldn't be prouder of how we've built this great team of individuals but really the bigger achievement is how we work together as a team. If you talk to the people on our team, they'll agree that they work and accomplish things together,” said Gittrich.