In the corner of every Toppers Pizza box, there’s a rallying cry for the brand: “First pizza, then the world.”
While Toppers might not be able to cross “conquering the world” off the to-do list quite yet, the Whitewater pizza chain is already making moves to at least dominate the country. After closing out the tenth period (September 7 to October 4) with company system-wide sales up 13.3 percent, the purveyor of extravagant toppings and dangerously-addictive Topperstix (recently named one of the 43 best drunken eats by BuzzFeed) has proven that Toppers is a delicious force to be reckoned with.
With average store sales reaching $914,000 in 2014, the company wasted no time in kicking off 2015 with a greater ambition in mind: To support franchisees and improve operations in an effort to increase same-store sales by 10 percent. And as the pizza chain charges its way through the second half of 2015, Toppers is readying to hoist its victory flag—so far this year, Toppers has seen a 23.3 percent rise in sales. System-wide same store sales grew by 5.6 percent in the third quarter, led by franchise owned units up more than 6.7 percent and company-owned units up 3.5 percent, marking the fifth straight quarter of same store sales increases of more than 5 percent.
“At the beginning of the year, we aligned our system to focus on one goal – to increase same-store sales by ten percent and so far, we’ve managed to go above and beyond that goal,” said Chief Financial Officer Kendall Richmond. “We’re eager to close out the year as our best sales year yet while approaching 2016 with even more ambitious goals to continue to propel the brand forward.”
When Toppers’ CEO Scott Gittrich decided to rebel against big pizza chains in 1991, he started with the simple goal: to recapture the magic of a made-from-scratch pizza in a sea of cookie cutter chains. Nearly 20 years later, Toppers Pizza proudly boasts 71 locations in 11 states, a rabid cult-like following and a growth trajectory that puts the brand on pace to open 700 locations in the next ten years. Since the beginning of 2015, Toppers has signed two new multi-unit operators representing 11 locations across Kansas City, Northwest Iowa and South Dakota.
“The formula for Toppers’ success simple: We serve up delicious and unique flavors in a playful way that lets our passion for pizza speak for itself,” said Scott Iversen, vice president of marketing at Toppers. “With the help of our dedicated and passionate franchise owners, delivery drivers and team members, we’ve achieved the sales goal we created at the beginning of the year. Now that we’ve seen what we’re capable of, we have even higher hopes for 2016!”
Proud of their roots in Wisconsin, the brand launched with a focus that led to the complete selling of their home state, and an ironclad growth plan has led to sold out states in Minnesota and Nebraska. The brand’s current focus is on finding qualified multi-unit franchise partners in Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Kansas and North Carolina.
“My ultimate fantasy would be a world where people ask: ‘Where do you eat pizza?’ And the answer will always be: ‘I go to Toppers. Toppers is my place.’ That’s my dream—where we’re a growing, unstoppable company and a place that people can be proud to say is their favorite,” Gittrich said.