Top That! Pizza Rises From A Pie-In-The-Sky Idea To Game-Changing Brand

""Tulsa, October 18, 2011 — Last October, a completely different pizza restaurant opened its doors for the first time. Today, Top That! Pizza announced the October 17th Grand Opening of its first franchise unit. Four more units are under construction and dozens more in the pipeline. ‘Why hasn’t anyone done this before?’ is a question we asked ourselves when we came up with the idea of a create-your-own pizza place,” said Lori Walderich, Founder of Top That! Pizza. “When we began serving pizzas to our first customers, they asked us the same question. It was then that we knew we had something.”

Top That! Pizza has been nationally recognized as the world’s first restaurant that specialize in custom, personal-sized pizzas for a fixed price. The concept lets guests oversee the creation of their pizza in much the same way as they might in a sub sandwich shop, choosing from an Italian white, multigrain or honey wheat crust and a wide selection of sauces, vegetables, meats and cheeses in plain view. Customers are presented with their own customized, piping hot pizzas less than three minutes after placing their order.

Guests can choose from two pizza sizes: a 10” for $6.99 and a 6” kids for $3.49. Unlike other pizza restaurants, prices remain the same, no matter how many toppings customers choose. Several side salads and Barbee Cookies complete the food offerings.

After the first store opened last year, the owners were visited by a team from Coca-Cola. Once they shared the unique Top That! Pizza vision and operation, they were offered a new award winning innovation in beverage dispensing technology – the opportunity to have a Coca-Cola Freestyle® fountain dispenser in their first and only store. “Coca-Cola Freestyle offers people tremendous choice and variety and a distinctive beverage experience unlike anything they’ve seen before,” said Gene Farrell, Vice President, Coca-Cola Freestyle, Coca-Cola Refreshments. “With Coca-Cola Freestyle, guests at Top That! Pizza can enjoy the perfect interactive dining combo — selecting and pouring their own branded beverage and creating their own delicious signature pizza. You can’t beat that pairing.”

The new fountain dispenser from The Coca-Cola Company offers more than 100 sparkling and still beverage brands from a single freestanding unit. Sleek and stylish, the unit is touch-screen operated and serves regular and low-calorie beverage brands, flavored waters, sports drinks  lemonades and other options, many exclusive to Coca-Cola Freestyle. An ideal complement to the Top That! Pizza made-to-order dining experience, Coca-Cola Freestyle allows people to choose from endless beverage possibilities, many previously unavailable in the U.S. “It made so much sense for us to put this new technology in our store from the beginning.” said Jeff Walderich, CEO of Top That! Pizza. “If you’re going to top your own pizza, why shouldn’t you be able to customize your beverage?”

The combination of custom personal pizzas and Coca-Cola Freestyle beverage choices resulted in significantly higher sales than the concept’s executives originally projected. It has also helped create a loyal, passionate and diverse fan base. “People have told us they’ll drive fifteen miles to create their own pizza and custom drink. Now they’re asking us when we’ll build a store near them,” said Jeff Walderich. “That was our cue to begin seriously offering franchises to qualified individuals. We literally had prospects handing us cards within two months of opening our doors.”

In total, six locations will be open by the end of 2011. Five additional locations are scheduled to be under construction in the first half of 2012 in Oklahoma, Texas and Missouri with more negotiations in the works. “If you look at it, we will be opening an average of one store per month over the next twelve
months.” said Walderich. “That’s way above our initial projections.”