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Franchise Information

Toppers Franchisees
About Toppers Pizza

At Toppers Pizza we wear aprons, not suits. That’s because at Toppers, we believe every decision that goes into making a pizza should be made in the kitchen and not in the boardroom. Our concept started with a simple idea – do pizza better. Fueled by this belief, we make every pie from scratch and use only Wisconsin cheese. Fresh. Fast. Delivered. We’ve doubled in size over the last three years and top development markets are selling out. Today, we’re one of the fastest growing pizza chains in the country fueled by consumer demand for better pizza that is delivered fast and just the way customers want it. We’re looking for smart, experienced operators to help build something special while capitalizing on our march across America. Do you have what it takes?
Why Toppers Pizza?
Leader in the exploding “Better Pizza Category.”

With 55 percent of business coming from delivery, our relentless perfected process leaves competition in the dust.

In 2015, 73 percent of all Toppers stores boasted record sales, boosting overall system-wide sales up 22.5 percent from the previous year.
 
2016 Technomic Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report ranked Toppers as one of the to five fastest-growing brands in the entire limited-service restaurant category while major chains like Pizza Hut, Domino’s and Papa John’s didn’t even make the list.
 
Continual investment in technology that has resulted in 42 percent of orders being placed online.

Toppers Pizza Store Tour
How Much Money Can I Make?
$909,543 = Annual average gross sales of locations opened for two fiscal years

41.2 % = number and percent that met or exceeded the average

* The following table contains profit and loss information for the fiscal year ended January 3, 2016, for all 17 restaurants that were open and continuously operated by our affiliate for a minimum of two full fiscal years. We do not have all of the information necessary in order to provide the same information for franchised restaurants. See Item 19 of the Toppers Pizza Franchise Disclosure Document for more information.


How Much Does A Toppers Pizza Franchise Cost?
Total Franchise Investment Range: $291,666 - $527,152

Franchise Fee: $10,000 - $30,000
Royalty Fee: 5.5 percent of gross sales

National Advertising Fee: 3 percent of gross sales

Financial Requirements (multi-unit 3-5 stores):
Minimum New Worth: $750,000 - $1,000,000
Minimum Liquid Capital: $350,000 - $500,000
Toppers Pizza Franchise
Our Leadership Team
Toppers Pizza has one of the most talented and experienced leadership teams in the restaurant industry.

Scott Gittrich
Founder & Chief Executive Officer

Scott Iversen
Vice President of Marketing

Mark Cairns
Director of Franchise Development

Why I Bought

For nearly 35 years, Barry Friends has been scheming new concepts for franchises. At least, that’s what his wife, Jennifer, says. He’s an idea guy—the kind of person who’s always pursuing the next big business venture. First it was the custard stand he wanted to open. Then it was a banana bread shop. Next, he suggested bringing a Dairy Queen to his community. Jennifer always humored him (she would be the one baking the banana bread, after all), but it wasn’t until they moved to Wisconsin and happened into a Toppers Pizza that the duo collectively agreed on a franchise they both felt good about.

 
Barry isn’t new to the restaurant industry. In fact, he’s experienced more of its inner-workings than a lot of people—namely, in food distribution. In the ‘80s, he began working with Sysco Food Services in Baraboo, Wisconsin. That job was the beginning of an upward climb, and by 1991, he joined Sysco Food Services of Pittsburgh as its president and CEO. US Foodservice was next, where he worked as president of the Minnesota division. His career then led him to Wisconsin, where he worked at Reinhart Foodservice as the corporate vice president of sales, merchandising and marketing.
 
It was after Barry and his family of seven moved to Wisconsin that their lives would really change—but for the better.
 
“We’re a heavy pizza-eating family. So when we visited a Toppers pizza for the first time, it turned into a family favorite. It’s a great product for a fair price. But it was more than just the food at Toppers—we loved their cheeky messaging and irreverent tone. They’re edgy, funny and fun,” Barry said. “My wife and I had always dreamed about having a restaurant franchise. One day, she turned to me and said, ‘If there is something I can get behind, it would be this.’”
 
Barry sent an email through Toppers’ franchise development website that very night. The next morning, a representative from the brand gave him a call to discuss their options. Barry and Jennifer decided to bring Toppers to their home state of Minnesota, and they signed on to a five-unit area development agreement for the western suburbs of Minneapolis. In doing so, Barry made the decision to leave behind his 35-year-old career in the corporate world.
 
“After spending more than three decades in the foodservice industry, I realized how much work restaurants could be. But I also realized how much I loved being a part of this industry. I was ready for a new career—something that I could build for our family and for the community,” Barry said. “I was impressed by Toppers’ growth potential. I was impressed by how they take a typical pizza concept and shake it up with creativity and a youthful personality.”
 
Today, their Toppers business is a family affair. At the time they decided to get into franchising, the economy was still in a state of recovery, and the younger generation was still weighed down by the burden of the downturn. Barry and Jennifer wanted to help. So when they signed on for five units in 2013, it was with the idea in mind that their children would help to run the system of stores. Their first location opened in 2014, and they had three of their daughters and one of their sons join the team.

Click here to learn more about Barry Friends. 

Executive Q&A

What about Toppers Pizza makes it unique within its industry?
Toppers Pizza is special from a consumer standpoint because of our menu of uncommon, toppings-driven pizzas, our service, our late night hours and the fact that we make everything from scratch. We deliver great food from passionate people. Also, our customers know and appreciate our company culture. We’ve been labeled a “culture-driven concept.” 

Toppers Pizza is a company that is full of people that care. From the franchisees that are passionate about what they’re doing to the team members that care about our values and how we do things to our drivers running to the door with smiles on their faces and the way that we execute on the promise to our customers -- everything we do comes from the heart. It’s easy to beat the cardboard, cookie cutter pizza chains that most of the world is ordering from when you’ve got a group of 2,000 people who really give a shit about making awesome food. 

What have been some of the brand's most important milestones over the past five years?
Our online ordering platform is one of the top five in the industry and one of the best out of all restaurants in the U.S. It’s easier to order on Toppers.com than it is to order at almost any chain restaurant. 
 
We’ve also added three really strong multi-unit franchise groups that are developing our brand in three different areas of the country: Kris and Sally Milligan in Kansas, Clayton Hartman and Todd Geatches in Colorado and Wyoming, and Mike and Helen McLaughlin in Virginia and Maryland. With these three new groups leading the charge for growth, I anticipate that we’ll open our 200th location by 2022.

We also introduced Straight Up Pricing, a new systemwide program that allows our customers to customize their pizza with as many toppings as they want for the same price. We don’t nickel and dime our customers -- we want them to get exactly what they want without breaking the bank.

What plans does the brand have in the coming years?
We are in the process of rolling out a new POS platform called Pizmet, which will allow us to interface with customers on an individual level. It will be a monumental change for our brand. 

We’re also working hard in the kitchen on some fun, innovative menu ideas. We’re developing new side items in addition to more options for toppings and pizzas, drizzles and other interesting menu categories that fit our brand and allow us to continue pushing the envelope with our food. 

Toppers is also executing on our franchise development strategies. In 2018, we’re projected to open a record 20 new restaurants, including our milestone 100th store. 

What does an ideal franchisee look like?
The people who are the best fit for us are the people who are looking to work hard and are looking for something that’s more than just an investment. We attract franchisees who are looking for a fun business to actively operate and grow. One of the ways that we compete in the industry is that we are active, we are driven and we fight. The people that are a fit for us are those that are already wired that way. 

Over the years, we’ve done deals with people that just wanted to invest in a great business opportunity. But we’ve realized these people ultimately aren’t the right match for us. We want people who want to be in their restaurants every day. We like people who are a little cocky and competitive -- it’s part and parcel of being active and passionate in the business. 

We’re really seeking franchisees that have been in the restaurant business previously and are looking for a multi-unit development opportunity. We’ll do single store deals in areas where we already have a presence but we’ve had success with franchisees who were part of a culture driven pizza brand in the past and now feel like the culture has gone away and want to return to the old days. That nostalgia aspect has brought us some great franchise owners. Toppers has allowed them to get back to what they know works. 

Why is Toppers Pizza a good investment?
The brand works. From an investment standpoint, that’s what you want to be confident in. There are no guarantees, but it’s a proven concept - if you’re the right fit, you can make this a great lifestyle and build something special for your family and for your future. When people make it to our Discovery Day, there’s a good chance that they’re a fit with a high likelihood for success in our system. Toppers Pizza isn’t a match for everyone, and that’s okay. We’re focused on growing our brand with the right people. 

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