As the world’s major pizza chains raced to be the best low-cost provider of cheap, homogenous delivery pizza, Scott Gittrich, the founder and CEO of Toppers Pizza, realized an unmet need. People were craving something more—they wanted a better-tasting pizza, and they wanted it fast. So, by utilizing quality ingredients and innovative concepts and offering it to customers through quick delivery, Toppers emerged as a fierce competitor in the $40 billion pizza industry.
Today, better pizza isn’t the only thing adding to Toppers’ competitive edge. In an era where transparency is critical for concepts looking to remain relevant to younger consumers, Toppers is proud to announce the system-wide roll out of a new and improved store prototype—the Toppers Show Kitchen. The open design allows customers to interact with Toppers Team Members and get an up-close look at the high-quality toppings the brand is known for.
“Customers today want to see their food and the people preparing their food. They want to know what’s going on and they want to feel a connection with what they’re about to eat. We’re proud to say that we still make our food from scratch in a way that most of our competitors don’t. By opening up the kitchen, we’re inviting guests to see that for themselves,” Gittrich said. “We’re connecting with our customers in a more personal way than ever before.”
The new prototype was initially unveiled in Milwaukee nearly three months ago. Customers and team members alike came back with rave reviews. With the new show kitchen, they believed the overall Toppers experience was better, cleaner, livelier and more inviting.
“It makes the atmosphere more fun and pleasant. It also helps to temper late-night rowdiness because customers are actively engaged with the pizza-making process instead of twiddling their thumbs waiting for their pizza. There are so many big wins all around with the show kitchen,” Gittrich added.
This new store design comes as David Biederman takes the helm as Toppers’ new chief development officer. Armed with experience managing other prototype concepts, Biederman plans to utilize the next six months to not only get the final costs and details finalized, but to look at every single inch of the platform to make sure it’s as efficient as possible. Moving forward, Toppers plans to build the prototype in every new market they enter, and any existing stores can opt for the show kitchen when it comes time to remodel.
“Our business is changing. Now, people are coming in and picking up their product—it’s not just delivery anymore,” Biederman said. “Toppers has always been forward-thinking, and they recognized this trend and the need to adapt. This prototype enhances our business. It shows that we’re no longer just making pizza and sending it off with our drivers—we’re a place where Customers are starting to interact with us far more. This is an opportunity to increase engagement with our brand—to really show them that we care about the quality of our product.”
Biederman believes that the show kitchen will further solidify Toppers’ commitment to serving up a better pizza option, too—one that customers are proud to call their pizza place. And that’s ultimately one of the brand’s key differentiators in an industry filled with cookie-cutter chains.
“Our Customers are better understanding what makes Toppers different from the rest. They see that the dough is made from scratch. They see that we use fresh ingredients that are cut in house. And they’re seeing our high standards,” Biederman added. “With the new prototype, they’re experiencing that first hand—they’re seeing the care and passion that goes into every pizza. This is a great expression of what Toppers is really about.”
The prototype will enhance the experience for franchisees, too. With Biederman’s help, the brand was able to land on a design that not only reflected their core values, but could also be accomplished at a reasonable build out cost.
“The new prototype leverages that passion and culture that was already in place and the differentiators that set us apart in the better pizza category. But it does this at a cost that make sense for the franchisee,” Biederman said. “We are in the restaurant business. We are going to build a lot of restaurants in this prototype, and the operations and efficiency makes sense for those looking to invest in the Toppers franchise opportunity.”