Man With a Mission: Long-Time Franchise Veteran Mark Cairns Joins Toppers

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Hot Pizza Franchise to Double in Size Over Next Year; Eyes 50th Location on Heels of Three January Openings

Scott Gittrich, CEO and Founder of Toppers Pizza

Mark Cairns is no stranger to pizza. In fact, long before becoming Toppers Pizza’s Director of Franchise Development, he actually delivered product to the first ever Toppers location.

“It’s a small world,” he said. “I actually worked as a supplier to Toppers founder Scott Gittrich’s first location from 1991 to 1992. It’s amazing how everything comes full-circle.”

Cairns joins Toppers Pizza with a wealth of experience, most recently igniting franchise development for Wisconsin-based Cousins Subs, as well as previously holding a seven-year post as Franchise Development Director at 400-plus-unit Huddle House. Before recruiting new franchisees, Cairns was also a franchisee himself, as an owner/operator of Papa’s Pizza To-Go in Atlanta (1996-2001).

“Everything happens for a reason. All of my experiences have led me to this opportunity,” Cairns said. “I am excited to help lead Toppers over the 50-unit mark this year, and past the 100-unit mark next year.”

In 2012, Toppers will climb over the 50th unit mark (projected by fourth quarter) with openings already scheduled, including a multi-unit deal in Chicago. The first four openings will be accompanied by 20-30 more by the end of 2015.

“We have searched very carefully for the right addition to help lead our growth,” Gittrich said. “We are confident we found our match in Mark Cairns. His wealth of experience as well as his determination to help brands grow led us to picking him to lead our development moving forward.

When Gittrich decided to rebel against big box pizza chains, he did so with a methodical vision to test and test again every aspect of his pizza-concept. Starting off with the simple goal of recapturing the magic of a made-from-scratch pizza in a sea of cookie cutter chains, Gittrich laid the foundation for his vision. Nearly 20 years later, his Whitewater-based pizza brand is showcasing its growth potential, as it now comes armed with 30 locations and an incredible average unit volume ($941,591) plus average per unit net profit ($161,998).

Showcasing Toppers’ progression, the founder of “Fast Casual Delivered” has a big first quarter of 2012 on the books, including two openings in Chicago; two in Madison, WI; Lincoln, NE; Cincinnati, OH; Bloomington, MN; Rochester, MN; Carmel, IN; Sheboygan, WI; Menomonie, WI and Milwaukee. Focusing its expansion in the upper Midwest, the brand’s aggressive campaign will target top-tier, multi-unit/multi-brand franchisees with portfolios that include historic and proven franchise brands.

Capitalizing on its strong customer loyalty and years of developing relationships in local markets, Toppers isn’t just a hot concept — it has proven results.

“We’re not one of those fly-by-night ideas that sounds good on paper, but doesn’t have the staying power to back it up,” Gittrich said. “This thing works wherever we go — small town, metro, urban, campus, residential, you name it.”

Toppers’ 2011 footsteps are focused on its exponential growth plan to reach 100 restaurants by 2013 and 500 by 2020. The company already has 22 locations under contract to be built by 2013.

The brand’s easily scalable business model allows for rapid growth potential and enables franchisees to reach a hugely underserved market. By focusing on the “Fast Casual Delivered” segment, franchisees are able to build connections with their customers on a personal level and further enhance overall brand loyalty.

“Our numbers are proven and our model is perfected; however, in order for multi-unit franchisees to take us seriously, we wanted to ensure we offered industry top innovation and standards,” Gittrich said. “These steps have already jump started the conversation, as our inquiries have increased more than 500 percent and the traffic to our franchise site is up more than 1,000 percent over last year.”

ABOUT TOPPERS: Ranked in Entrepreneur Magazine’s top 500 franchises in 2011, Toppers Pizza, a 36-unit eclectic pizza delivery franchise brand, headquartered in Whitewater, WI, takes a unique approach to the crowded pizza segment by appealing to 18-24 year olds in an irreverent way that totally separates them from the competition. Toppers’ menu includes 18 house pizzas; the franchise’s signature product line Topperstix; Oven-Toasted Grinders; Buffalo Wings; Quesadillas; and cold drinks. The brand has strongly established itself in Wisconsin, and is now in the midst of Midwest and then national growth. By focusing on Toppers’ demographic friendly markets, Toppers is able to continue its building of a fanatical relationship with its customer base. Toppers growth was celebrated in 2009 by Chain Store Age, an industry publication that measures quick service restaurant growth over the past five years, and ranked Toppers on their overachievers list of the Top 50 Fastest Growing Chain Restaurants in the United States. For more information on Toppers, visit http://www.toppers.com.

*The financial performance representations set forth below are for the one year period (52 weeks) commencing on January 4, 2010, and ending January 2, 2011, and are for nine independent franchise restaurants in Wisconsin and Minnesota and five Company-affiliated franchise restaurants in Wisconsin that were open the entire 52 weeks ended January 2, 2011. There were three franchise restaurants open in Minnesota and eighteen franchise restaurants open in Wisconsin during the entire one-year (52-week) period between January 4, 2010 and January 2, 2011. Fourteen of those twenty-one franchise restaurants are included in these representations. There were twenty-five franchise restaurants open in the entire System during the entire one-year (52-week) period between January 4, 2010 and January 2, 2011. Only fourteen of those restaurants (all of which are in Wisconsin or Minnesota) are included in these representations. The information was prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting. A new franchisee's results may differ from represented performance. There is no assurance that you will do as well and must accept that risk. The offering is made by prospectus only.

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