Pizza franchise slices into Grand Rapids market


Toppers Pizza makes “specialty pizzas” with "outrageous toppings.” Photo via

A pizza franchise with "outrageous toppings" is planning to open two stores in the Grand Rapids market as part of its Midwest expansion.

Toppers Pizza

Toppers Pizza, a Whitewater, Wis.-based chain with about 50 restaurants in 10 states, said the Grand Rapids stores will be Toppers’ only locations in Michigan, after the Ann Arbor Toppers closed last month.

Toppers’ goal is to serve 150 stores by 2015 and 500 stores by 2020, according to its website.

Toppers makes “specialty pizzas" with flavors like El Cuban, Gyro Topper and Mac ’n’ Cheese.

The restaurant, which delivers, also sells sides of wings, breadsticks, dips and beverages.


Local entrepreneur Nathan Ledger, who has run every Taco Bell in Grand Rapids owned by Chicago Diversified Foods, is the Toppers franchisee who will operate the two stores.

Ledger said him and his team are working on securing the first location, hinting that they're looking in the Eastown neighborhood.

Although there’s no word yet on when the first Toppers in Grand Rapids will open, Ledger said the second store will probably open some time in the next 12 months, after the first store opens.

Toppers Pizza stores usually employ about 15-30 people, Ledger said.

“Toppers caught my eye a few years before I signed,” Ledger said. “I’m committed to playing a key role in the growth of Toppers and eager to bring the progressive pizza brand to Michigan.”

Toppers’ company-owned stores averaged $889,086 in gross sales per year and earned $143,519 in net income, as of 1Q13, according to a Toppers announcement.

“This deal continues to showcase that the demand for the Toppers brand is growing, and we’re thrilled to have Nathan on board,” said Chris Cheek, Toppers’ chief development officer. “His previous experiences in the restaurant industry, coupled with his knowledge of the Grand Rapids food scene, make him the perfect candidate to help spread the Toppers experience.”

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