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Week 1:  The Good, the Bad, and the Really Good

Robin and I are 8 days into our World Tour of all Toppers Pizza stores.  It has been an absolutely fun adventure, and it has been great work.  It is impacting me.

Thus far we have been in 13 stores and had 4 Town Hall meetings.  We’ve made pizzas, rolled dough balls, folded boxes and swept floors.  We’ve eaten Pizza, Topperstix, team-member menu ideas and donuts.  I unloaded a pallet of food from a PFG truck, spun a 60” skin and tweeted.  We’ve seen good and not so good.  We’ve heard amazing, heart-warming, inspiring, and gut-punching stories.  We’ve broken bread with several management teams, lived in 5 hotel rooms, driven 942 miles, trained for our next marathons and laughed.  We did our full time day jobs on the side, talked Toppers nonstop, and slept a little too.  A week of life well-lived.

Our stated purpose of this epic adventure is to CELEBRATE and LISTEN!

CELEBRATE.  We are out here to celebrate the often heroic efforts of Toppers teams, team members and leaders in our family of 70 restaurants who not only kept the doors open and serving the greatest food on earth to our fellows, but persevered, then thrived and then dominated, building the greatest brand, financial and business success our company has ever achieved.  In the midst of a business world filled with hand-wringing and complaints over “supply-chain” and “the great resignation”, our team has done what we have always done:  won.

LISTEN.  We are out here to listen directly to the people that recently told us by survey that the work is harder than we think and that those of us on the support team, like me, simply don’t “get it” like we used to.   We are out here to listen to the Driver, the Pizza Maker, the General Manager, the Veteran of 20 years, the brand new Team Member, the Franchisee, the Area Supervisor and the Customer.  

Thankfully on that first visit with celebrated General Manager Josh Riecker’s team, I had an experience that convinced me that my ears and my mind were actually open and curious, that the stated purpose of listening was in fact ingrained in me, and that I was about to have a bold life-changing experience on the road.

Some of what I am looking for is any “disconnects” between Store Teams and the Support Team, of which I am proudly part.  The Support Team is often called “Headquarters” (which rightly describes the building space but not the people or the team) or even worse, “Corporate”, by some.  But for those of us that work at “corporate headquarters”, we know our work is honorable, humble, and done in service of the approximately 2000 Toppers team members and their families, as well as our fanatic customers.

To say the least, it’s imperative that we are all aligned and unified in what we do!

So imagine how I felt when Josh Riecker told me that he had ZERO confidence in a certain area of our support that came up on that first visit of 70.  I was in the right place to ask him (on a scale of 1-10, what is your confidence in what I’m saying?), and he was in the right place to truthfully answer (zero).  Now we get better.  Josh and I called one of our VPs right then and there that night for solutions.  My team that I work directly with  every day knows well what this is in detail.  And I promise we will get this right and that Josh and other team members that don’t trust us in this area now, will in time. 

I’ve heard the bad, but mostly I’ve heard the really good.  And I’ve seen it.  And felt it.

I have been moved by the seemingly universal bond that people in the stores have with each other and the lengths to which that bond drives them to incredible performance and sacrifice.  

I have been inspired by the ownership and leadership that is rampant in our teams at all levels, with and without leadership titles, and how THAT leadership is the secret to how we beat global competitors.  

And I have had that restaurant-geek excitement from seeing best-in-class store-level execution over and over again:  spotless stores, perfect pizzas, over-the-top friendliness and fast service.  I am giving myself shivers here people.  

I can tell you, I know why Toppers Pizza is a special place and why Toppers Pizza stores succeed.  It’s you.  All of you. 

See you out there. 


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Scott Gittrich

Scott’s unwavering affection for pizza became a full-fledged love affair when he decided to drop out of college to focus on a career at Domino’s after only two weeks on the job. The gamble paid off as he worked his way up through the company’s system. He stayed focused on having a successful career in the restaurant industry and he decided to create a pizza concept, Toppers Pizza, which delivered unique, fresh food made from scratch that rivaled anything available. Pizza is the best food in the world, there’s nothing that’s as celebratory and fun as pizza. It brings people together like no other product on earth.


  1. Todd Geatches says:

    Please keep the posts coming, the humbleness, honesty and willingness to confront the uncomfortable is why Toppers is special. Proud to have been associated with you and Robin.

    1. Scott Gittrich says:

      Thanks Todd! That means a lot coming from a leader like you.

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