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How a Passion for Better Pizza and Commitment to Growth Helped These Employees Find Success with Toppers
From franchisees to corporate employees, Toppers Pizza offers its team members a unique culture and environment that’s designed to help them rise through the ranks

When it comes to establishing a successful career path, taking a job as a pizza delivery driver may not seem like the traditional starting point. But at Toppers Pizza—the nation’s leading better pizza franchise—it’s a step that often leads to a long-term development opportunity, both personally and professionally.

Toppers isn’t like the other big guys in the pizza industry. With its fresh ingredients and commitment to innovation and technology, the brand goes above and beyond to provide its customers with the top-quality pizza that they deserve. And that willingness to set high expectations is something that stretches across Toppers’ entire system—the brand’s business model is designed to set every one of its team members up for success. That’s why the brand has a system in place to help its employees rise through the ranks.

“Toppers isn’t your typical franchise business—we’re a family. Every member of our team brings their own unique value to the table, and we want to make sure that we’re working in an environment where people are encouraged to share their ideas,” said Mark Cairns, director of franchise development for Toppers Pizza. “From our delivery drivers to our multi-unit franchisees, we’re constantly looking for ways to enhance or improve our system. And that means moving people who share our passion for the Toppers brand up through promotions.”

One example of an employee who has built his career with the help of Toppers Pizza is Damon Parr. He first started out with the brand as a delivery driver in Oshkosh, Wisconsin while he was in college. But it was ultimately because of his store’s manager that Parr realized the Toppers brand was something he wanted to be a part of in the long run.

“He was an exciting person to work for. And it’s clear that others felt the same—he has been named manager of the year three times,” said Parr. “It came down to the fact that he valued everyone’s input and was generally interested in helping us move up to the next position. His passion and energy were contagious, and I’ve been growing with the Toppers brand ever since.”

After working as an assistant manager and even toying around with the idea of opening up his own franchise, Parr found that a corporate role was the best fit for him. Toppers’ founder, Scott Gittrich, offered him a job to be the general manager at one of the brand’s Madison locations, which he immediately accepted. He was then promoted to an area supervisor position before eventually taking on his current role as a senior area supervisor. Today, Parr is in charge of overseeing five of the brand’s Milwaukee locations in addition to the Whitewater location that houses Toppers’ headquarters.

“I’ve found that I’ve been able to be successful with Toppers because I value its commitment to integrity. This is an environment where you can be yourself and say what’s on your mind, and I’m grateful to be a part of it,” Parr said. “If you truly embrace the brand and prove that you’re willing to put in the hard work that it takes to succeed, Toppers is an ideal place to work. Our culture is second to none, and we’re only getting stronger as a brand.”

That strength comes in part from the brand’s rapidly growing franchise opportunity. Franchisees like Jeff Beck in Minnesota are increasingly deciding to partner with the brand because of its unique position in the pizza industry. Between its scalable business model and relationship with consumers, Toppers’ system is designed to help its local owners thrive.

“The entire franchising process has been great with Toppers, which is a testament to their team. They’ve created an atmosphere that’s both welcoming and fun, and they strive for excellence in everything that they do,” said Beck. “By teaming up with Toppers, we gained access to an incredible system that’s already in place, and we’re looking forward to growing in the Minnesota and Iowa market.”

Beck is far from the only franchisee experiencing success with the brand’s system. Toppers Pizza is coming off of a successful 2016 where the brand experienced tremendous growth including climbing sales and three signed multi-unit development deals that will ultimately add 41 new locations to Toppers’ ever-growing network. In the first half of 2017, Toppers Pizza will surpass 80 stores and the company has a goal of reaching National stature and 200 units by 2022. The brand has enjoyed recognition from top industry publications and entities such as landing on Entrepreneur Magazine's ranking of the top 500 franchises in the U.S for the third year in a row in 2017 and landing on QSR Magazine's listing of the Best Franchise Deals.

Toppers Pizza also provides its franchisees with an affordable business ownership opportunity. With initial investments ranging between $291,666 and $527,152, and a franchisees fee that starts at $30,000 for the first unit and decreases to $20,000 for the second and third units, $15,000 for the fourth and fifth, and only $10,000 for six and above, Toppers’ system is easily accessible and scalable. The brand also rolled out a new prototype to kick off 2017 which increases transparency and creates a more welcoming environment for guests, while enhancing the flexibility of the real estate footprint which can range from 1,300 to 1,700 square feet - making it easier for franchisees to locate and sign for endcaps, inline stores, or freestanding locations.

“As we continue to open up our doors in new communities across the country, we’re able to provide people with jobs and help them launch their professional careers. That’s not a responsibility that we take lightly—our goal is to ensure that our franchisees and employees are growing alongside the Toppers brand,” Cairns said. “We’re looking forward to helping people find their ideal paths as we partner with more franchisees and hire people at the local level.”

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