It’s a good time to be a player in the pizza industry—the business is outperforming other major restaurant segments. According to data from Pizza Industry Analysis, pizza sales are on pace to push the $45 million mark this year in the U.S. alone, which is a 16.9 percent increase from 2015. That kind of increase hasn’t been seen in the industry in a long time— in the year ending 2014, U.S. pizza sales hit $38.5 billion, which was only a 2.9 percent increase from the year before. And this rapidly growing demand is expected to keep climbing.
That’s why it’s no surprise that Toppers Pizza is continuing to steal away market share from the big chains in the industry. The brand’s loyal relationship with millennial consumers and fearless approach to rolling out new and delicious menu items have positioned Toppers as an innovative leader in the booming pizza segment. And now, in order to be a part of that movement and success, more multi-unit and multi-brand franchise owners are making the decision to diversify with the brand.
Rocky Top Management, a franchise development group, is one set of multi-brand owners who are expanding their portfolios with Toppers Pizza. The group—which is being led by Todd Geatches and Clayton Hartman—will open 13 Toppers units in Colorado and Wyoming over the next six years while also operating multiple Taco John’s locations.
“When Clayton and I decided to diversify, we researched several different chains: Papa John’s, Jet’s Pizza, Marco’s Pizza and Toppers Pizza. But what ultimately stood out was Toppers. Scott Gittrich and the rest of the corporate team have figured out a way to target millennials, which is invaluable in the restaurant industry,” Geatches said. “Of course, the quality of the brand’s product was a huge factor, too. When I first tried the pizza and Topperstix I fell in love—it was far and above the other brands.”
Diversifying with Toppers goes beyond the brand’s superior products and menu. Just ask Shane Quail and Chad Hatch, who are opening six Toppers Pizza restaurants as part of Nordic Venture Partners. The business partners—who have also operated Dairy Queen restaurants—turned to the brand in order to find new opportunities for growth that weren’t available to them before.
“There’s only so much room to grow with a brand like Dairy Queen. They’ve already saturated so many markets—it can be difficult to find new ownership opportunities,” Quail said. “Toppers opened the door for us to take our development group to the next level. The pizza business is here to stay, and there’s no doubt that Toppers will continue to stand out with its unique culture and attitude.”
Diversifying with Toppers is a natural next step for experienced multi-unit and multi-brand franchisees. While the process still requires hard work and dedication, operators already have teams and systems in place to roll out a new franchise location. That competitive advantage—combined with Toppers’ position as the brand to beat in the pizza industry—makes for the perfect combination.
“It comes down to the fact that Toppers offers multi-brand franchisees an unprecedented opportunity for growth. It’s virtually impossible for other franchisors to have the same top tier markets open for development that we do,” said Mark Cairns, director of franchise development at Toppers. “The Toppers brand has tremendous upward potential—our strong unit level economics and positive investment to sales ratio shows that we’re the next big player in the pizza delivery category.”