Toppers Pizza, the Whitewater, Wisconsin-based brand with 70-plus locations, is planning a significant expansion in North Carolina, where it has two current locations. In just over six months, the brand has committed to partnering with three new franchisees to open nine new locations in the state, including in Charlotte, Raleigh, Greenville and Durham.

The first group of franchisees consists of the Charlotte-based Castillo family: a husband, wife, son, daughter and daughter-in-law who all have different experiences in restaurants and entrepreneurship. They will be new operating franchisees with their first Toppers Pizza. 

The new Charlotte Toppers will be operated under Carlos Sr. and his wife, Lillian; their daughter, Leslie; and their son, Carlos Jr., and his wife, Debbie. Carlos Sr. has owned and operated a construction business in New York for the last 22 years but became interested in pursuing a new venture in franchising alongside his family. The Castillos are longtime fans of Toppers Pizza and wanted to be able to plant their roots in Charlotte while laying the foundation for something that future generations in their family could be a part of.

Related: Rapidly Growing Pizza Brand Lays Groundwork For More Expansion

“We’re not only excited to be first-time franchisees but also thrilled to be part of a company that we are personally fans of, while bringing our family closer together,” Carlos says. “For us, it’s not just about serving good food, but cultivating the perfect guest experience that my family and I cherished as customers ourselves. Our goal is to ensure that everyone who walks through our doors feels that same satisfaction.”

Carlos Jr. has an extensive history of working in hospitality, having held positions that range from hotel bartender to serving as manager at Papa John’s and Hungry Howie’s locations. His wife, Debbie, also has a hospitality background, with both practical experience in foodservice and a degree in baking.

Founded in 1991 as an alternative to big-box pizza, Toppers is “built on a bold attitude with the product to back it up…on a mission to redefine what customers should expect from [quick-service] pizza,” according to the brand. “By consistently giving customers what they want, Toppers has forged an untapped space in the pizza industry and is thriving in a digital-first, post-pandemic world.”

The brand prides itself on combining technology, menu innovation, a focused digital media strategy and Gen Z-centric social media channels. With franchisees achieving a $1,100,000+ average unit volume across the entire system, Toppers Pizza is eyeing major growth and seeking like-minded franchisees to grow further.

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