Six weeks ago was one of the scariest business weeks of my entire life. That was the week that the shit was first hitting the fan: Universities were closing, the NBA stopped playing, March Madness was cancelled, and businesses and governments were swiftly backing into quarantines and closing down.
Like most of you, I was having crazy “prepper” thoughts (never did hoard though, maybe it was my massive stock of flour, pepperoni, and fresh cheese that I knew I had available 🙂 ). But I was also afraid that we would be shut down for a long time and that Toppers would simply cease to exist. Yeah. That’s real. It was scary. My life’s work – POOF! Unfortunately, I know that has happened for many of my restaurant comrades and other businesses.
Every week between then and now has gotten better. Those first days were single-mindedly focused on two things: 1) how to run the business safely for our teams and customers and 2) raising and preserving cash. There’s hardly a business of any size in the world that wasn’t focused on those two things. I’m happy to say that we didn’t let a single team member go even though I knew I had to be ready to, despite the fact that our business was impacted quite a bit to the downside early on.
Toppers Leadership started meeting seven days a week first thing in the morning to plan and execute. Once we had the basics covered, we were on flat-out problem-solving, innovation mode. Like many restaurants, we began offering curbside takeout and contactless delivery. Unlike most restaurants, we got really good at it fast!
We made the decision years ago to build and own the technology that powers TOPPERS.COM and the business systems that makes what our people do possible. That software is called PiZMET, and the developers and marketers that build it are called innovators and champions.
Because of PiZMET, that team, and the teams in the restaurants that make everything come to life, customers can order food and have it delivered to their cars in our parking lots in addition to their house or apartment. That might sound easy, but not so much. Making it easy for customers to order and for team members to track who is in the lot and who is not and who has paid and who hasn’t, etc. is the nuts and bolts of why we are open and kicking ass and why most restaurants offering curbside are doing very little.
Six weeks ago curbside didn’t exist at Toppers, and today we are selling tens of thousands of pizzas per week CURBSIDE! Who we are and what we do and how we do it is paying off in this environment. And we are now confident that we are set up to succeed in the new normal of this entire decade. Customers are going to want more delivery, more contactless takeout and more online capabilities. We are succeeding now, and more excitingly, we are set up to thrive and grow for years to come.
We are dyed-in-the-wool, in-our-DNA, Delivery and takeout experts! Our specialty is exactly what people need and want. It’s what every other restaurant is trying to figure out on the fly, and we don’t know how to do anything else. We make great food fast, package it right, and get it to our customers safely and quickly and hot.
Toppers is kicking major tail today due to the incredible work of the best team members in the world who work for the best franchisees in the world. I’m serious. I’d put our team members and franchisees up against anyone. ANYONE.
And to that Leadership Team and the entire Toppers Store Support Team that are quietly working their asses off serving our customers, team members, and franchisees: THANK YOU ALL! 2020 and beyond are going to be the best years in Toppers history because we have decided so.