Toppers Pizza (American restaurant)

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Toppers Pizza
Industry Quick Service Restaurant
Founded Champaign, Illinois, United States (1991)
Headquarters Whitewater, Wisconsin, United States
Key people
Scott Gittrich, Founder and CEO
Scott Iversen, VP of Marketing
Kendall Richmond, CFO
Mark Watt, Franchise Operations Director
Adam Oldenburg, Corporate Operations Director
Matt Martin, Director of Training
Products Pizza

Toppers Pizza is a chain of pizzerias in the United States. The chain was founded by Scott Gittrich in 1991 in Champaign, Illinois, but the original location closed in the mid-1990s. The first Toppers Pizza location in Wisconsin opened in Whitewater in 1993. The company is headquartered in Whitewater, Wisconsin.[1] The first official franchise store opened in Eau Claire, WI in 1997.[2]


There are Toppers Pizza franchises throughout the Midwestern United States.The chain includes both company-owned locations and franchise stores. It has more than 70 locations in the states of Arkansas, Indiana, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Kentucky, Nebraska, Michigan, Texas and Wisconsin.[3] The chain's target market is college students and other customers between 18 and 34 years old.[4][5][1] As part of its targeting of college students, most of the chain's stores remain open until 3:00 a.m. or later to accommodate late-night business.[1][6]

Toppers founder Scott Gittrich entered the pizza business in 1984 when he was a college student at the University of Illinois and took a job as a Domino's Pizza delivery driver. He rose through the company, serving as director of operations for a group of 22 franchise locations in Charlotte, North Carolina, when he left in 1991 to start his own pizza business.[6]

Originally called "Topper's Pizza", the chain removed the apostrophe from its name as part of its marketing strategy to give it a more informal image.[4]


Toppers was listed by Franchise Business Review as one of their Top 50 Multi-Unit Franchises for 2015 in a special report. The brand landed in their Top 25 Brick & Mortar Opportunities category. Franchise Business Review’s Top 50 Multi-Unit Franchise report rates the “Best of the Best” and findings are split into two categories: Top 25 Brick & Mortar Opportunities and Top 25 Service Multi-Unit Franchises.[7] Toppers also received recognition as one of the Top 50 Franchises in the medium size class (50 - 99 locations) on the 2015 Franchise Business Review's annual Franchisee Satisfaction Awards. This ranking is based on actual franchisee satisfaction and performance.[8]

In 2015, Toppers was ranked No. 29 in Restaurant Business Magazine's The Future 50, their annual ranking of the fastest-growing small chains in the U.S., that offers a snapshot of restaurant concepts on the rise: the up-and-comers that are the ones to watch, invest in or be inspired by. Compiled by their partners at Technomic, The Future 50 spotlights chains with annual sales between $25 million and $50 million and growth of at least 10 percent in the last year, a milestone signaling chains on the brink of national recognition and remarkable growth.[9]

In 2014, Toppers was ranked No. 54 in Pizza Today on the "Top 100 Pizza Chains in the United States",[10] Entrepreneur Magazine ranked Toppers as one of the top 500 franchises[11] in the U.S and QSR Magazine listed Toppers as one of the year’s Best Franchise Deals.[12]

The business was nominated as one of Nation's Restaurant News' 50 Breakout Chains for 2013. Nation’s Restaurant News declared the brand as one of the 50 breakout chains of the year and Toppers received a No. 58 spot in Pizza Today’s top 100 pizza companies.[13]

Toppers' growth was celebrated in 2009 by Chain Store Age, an industry publication that measures quick service restaurant growth over the previous five years, and ranked Toppers on its overachievers list of the Top 50 Fastest Growing Chain Restaurants in the United States.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Lynne Miller, Ones to Watch: Toppers Pizza, QSR Magazine, July 2008
  2. ^ "Toppers Timeline". 
  3. ^ Toppers Pizza - Locations, website accessed September 11, 2015
  4. ^ a b Stuart Elliott, Hat’s Off to Pizza Makeover, New York Times, September 11, 2006
  5. ^ Fernie Tiflis, Toppers Pizza: Editor’s Choice 2008 Food and Drink, 01 December 2008
  6. ^ a b Jane Burns, Executive Q&A: Toppers Pizza founder Scott Gittrich on pie appeal, Wisconsin State Journal, February 27, 2010
  7. ^ "Top 50 Multi-Unit Franchises for 2015". FranchiseBusinessREVIEW. 
  8. ^ "The Franchisee Satisfaction Award Winners - Best Franchise Opportunities for 2015". FranchiseBusinessREVIEW. 
  9. ^ "Future 50 Restaurant Business magazine's annual ranking of the fastest-growing small chains in America". Restaurant Business. June 2015. 
  10. ^ "2014 Top 100 Pizza Companies List". Pizza Today. 
  11. ^ "2015 Franchise 500 Rankings". Entrepreneur. 
  12. ^ "2014 Best Franchise Deals | The Rising Stars". QSR Magazine. July 2014. 
  13. ^ "2013 Top 100 Pizza Companies List". Pizza Today. 

External links[edit]