Toppers Pizza Recognizes Exceptional Franchisees and Team Members with Annual Awards

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The Fast-Growing Better Pizza Franchise Celebrates Strong System that Drives the Brand’s Success and Growth

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Toppers Pizza has been stealing the spotlight from the big players in the competitive pizza industry for more than 25 years. But it’s not just the brand’s superior products and commitment to innovation that makes it stand out—Toppers is built on a strong network of passionate and dedicated franchisees and employees. The brand celebrated these outstanding individuals at the awards ceremony at the annual Toppers Pizza convention in Orlando, Florida on Wednesday, June 15.

This year’s recipients of the prestigious Franchisee of the Year award are Andy and Caro Johnson, who own stores in Eau Claire, Chippewa Falls and Menomonie, Wisconsin. The husband and wife duo have a long history with Toppers—they were the brand’s first franchisees. They’re also the winners of the inaugural Hometown Hero award, which is given to the owners of the Toppers franchise who have gone above and beyond in their efforts to support the local community.

“Franchisees like Andy and Caro perfectly exemplify what it means to live out Toppers Pizza’s core values on a day-to-day basis. Their leadership skills and high standards for excellence have become company policy across our entire franchise system,” said Scott Gittrich, Founder and President of Toppers Pizza. “Our franchisees are essential to our brand’s overall success, and the Johnsons have consistently helped us move forward and in the right direction.”

Beyond its franchisees, Toppers Pizza is also celebrating the managers who oversee local store operations, ultimately creating the heightened level of customer loyalty that makes the brand unique. Steven Repinski, who works in Toppers’ Stevens Point, Wisconsin store, is this year’s top manager. Repinski has played a crucial role in increasing sales, out the door time, safety and overall customer satisfaction at his location.

Toppers Pizza is also recognizing a rookie manager of the year for the first time. Jake Melczer from the Burnsville, Minnesota Toppers is taking home the award for his ability to lead and coach other members of his team as well as his positive strategic vision for both his store and the entire company as a whole.

“Great restaurant managers assemble and inspire teams of hard working employees and deliver the high quality food and fast service that the Toppers brand is known for,” said Gittrich. “Both Steven and Jake excel at these tasks and bring an unparalleled level of energy and passion to the table.”

During the annual convention, the coveted Skin Sprints competition crowned a new winner: Nick Kotecki, who beat reigning champion Chris Clover by only 9/10 of a second, bringing the title to Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

The list of excellent Toppers franchisees, stores, managers and employees is seemingly endless. Other notable awards and winners include:

  • Gold Level Sales Increase: Toppers Pizza in Chapel Hill, North Carolina with a sales increase of 21.48%
  • Individual Attitude in Action: Andrew Guss from Irish Luck, LLC in Waukesha, who thinks outside the box and always strives for more
  • Company Attitude in Action: The operators of the 1474 Investments in Minneapolis, Minnesota, who have successful local store marketing engrained in their DNA
  • Team Attitude in Action: Team members behind the Toppers Pizza in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, who encourage all employees to be involved in sales building
  • Bolt Award: Andy and Caro Johnson with an out the door time of 14 minutes and 49 seconds
  • Caro Johnson Spirit Award: Lisa Leone from Pizza People, Inc. in Bayview / Milwaukee whose energy and enthusiasm is contagious

All of these award winners have contributed to one of Toppers’ most successful years to date. In 2015, 73 percent of the brand’s stores boasted record sales. That impressive growth led to the brand’s second place ranking on the Technomic 2015 Pizza Power Report. As the brand continues to move forward in 2016, it has its sights set on dominating an even bigger slice of the market share pie.

“Our network of superior franchisees and managers are increasingly stealing sales away from their local competitors,” said Gittrich. “Customers know that when they order from Toppers, they’re going to receive the best pizza and service in the business. We’re confident that trend will only continue to grow as we keep bringing our concept to new communities across the country.”

Capitalizing on the booming better pizza category and fueled by the passion of Founder & President Scott Gittrich and a team of experienced industry veterans, Toppers Pizza has formulated the perfect recipe to appeal to both pizza enthusiasts and savvy investors. Headquartered in Wisconsin, Toppers is one of the fastest growing better-pizza chains in the United States. The brand has doubled in size over the last three years and completely sold out three states based on growth spurred by both existing franchisees and established multi-unit operators. Now with restaurants in 12 states and with territories immediately available across the country, Toppers plans to reach 700 stores in the U.S. within 10 years. Toppers is committed to quality and consistency throughout the system, and plans to maintain corporate ownership of 25 percent of all locations while the brand expands to continuously improve on best practices and product development. Toppers fanatics love the brand’s fresh, handmade and customizable pizza baked in about 360 seconds and delivered extremely fast, with more than a million combinations of fresh, high quality toppings, and the brand’s signature line of flavored Topperstix and baked Buffalo wings. In 2014, Entrepreneur Magazine ranked Toppers as one of the top 500 franchises in the U.S and QSR Magazine listed the company as one of the year’s Best Franchise Deals. For more information on how to join the rapidly growing Toppers family and for a sneak peek into the Toppers experience, visit

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Lauren Boukas
No Limit Agency
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