Whether young or old, people really love pizza. According to a recent USDA study, nearly three billion pies are sold in the U.S. every single day. When you take that number, and zero in on a state like North Carolina, a region that’s home to more than 9 million residents, one thing is clear—there are a whole lot of mouths to feed. It’s simple math, really, and Toppers Pizza wants to be part of the equation.
When it comes to rising above the fray in residential towns filled with greasy, cookie cutter pizza joints, Toppers has a solid track record to draw from. As one of the up-and-coming leaders in a competitive industry, the brand is notorious for its focus on unconventional toppings, like mac ‘n cheese and tater tots. With fresh ingredients and dough made from scratch daily, not to mention its secret weapon and pizza’s greatest ally, Topperstix, the brand resonates with just about anyone who craves good food, no matter the hour of the day. And across North Carolina, there are a lot of those.
“Our stores are open late, and we serve a super high-quality product. It sounds simple but this combination really hits a sweet spot with our customers. We know we will find a fan base in North Carolina,” said Mark Cairns, director of franchise development for Toppers.
With three stores currently open in North Carolina and three more in development, the brand has momentum in the area, and Cairns still sees plenty of room to grow. Charlotte in particular has been a hotbed of activity, thanks to veteran franchisee Bill Stayduhar. A Toppers franchisee for 10 years, Stayduhar operates two locations, the first of which opened in 1997. Both of these locations were recently remodeled to feature new menu boards, hardwood floors and a newer, cleaner look. And according to Stayduhar, there’s room for 15 to 20 additional locations throughout the Charlotte area, and he expects growth to happen rapidly.
Meanwhile, in Chapel Hill, franchisees like Wayne Byers have helped to completely sell out the area. Now, he’s teaming up with Sridhar Koneru, Venkat Doppalapudi and Murali Marni to open three Toppers stores over the next three years throughout The Triangle. Both Byers and Koneru believe Raleigh is an ideal market for the brand, thanks to its high population of schools, universities and homes. The team hopes to open their first location in the next six to eight months.
According to Cairns, 2015 was a huge momentum-builder for the brand, and now they’re geared up to make a huge impact in North Carolina. In the coming year, Toppers is targeting cities like Raleigh-Durham-Cary, Greensboro-Winston-Salem, Fayetteville, Asheville and Wilmington—to name just a few.
“North Carolina is an important target market for Toppers, and as we enter 2016, we’re seeing great momentum in the region. There’s enormous potential throughout the entire state, and we’re right on track to open several stores this year.”