As Toppers continues to gain the upper hand in the better-pizza category, the brand is proud to announce the recent hire of Tony Ellis, Toppers’ first-ever vice president of information technology. As a key member of the leadership team, his job is to take the brand’s overall technology strategy, innovation, and execution to the next level.
“Our goal is to continue to show more and more pizza fanatics that they don’t have to settle for mediocre pizza,” says Scott Gittrich, founder and president of Toppers Pizza. “But in order to do so, we need to keep upping our game so that we’re better than the big chains in every way. It’s a never-ending process of growing and evolving, and that applies to the backbone of Toppers’ system, our technology. We’re excited to bring Tony and his expertise to the Toppers team. Our driving force has always been to provide a better pizza, quicker delivery, top-notch technology and unmatched customer service. Now, we’re taking a major step forward as a brand by focusing our efforts on developing even better technology.”
For more than 12 years, Ellis helped lead the IT operations for BuySeasons, the leading online retailer of costumes, accessories, party supplies, and décor. Planning, implementing, and supporting both hardware and software, Ellis helped grow BuySeasons’ revenue from single digit to triple digit millions. In 2014, Ellis also co-founded his own company, Aperture Labs, a full-service software consulting agency specializing in e-commerce and web development.
“When contemplating my next career move, I was on the hunt for one important thing – I wanted something where I could wake up every single morning and be able to say to myself, ‘I love my job,’” Ellis says. “The moment you walk into Toppers’ headquarters, you see the core values right there on the wall. It says to have fun and do everything with passion. The first time I met Scott Gittrich, I was blown away by his intense entrepreneurial spirit, and you can truly feel his vision. It was very clear that Toppers aligned very closely with what I was looking for—a company with high-growth potential and a fun environment that rewards you for working hard. They give you the opportunity to make a huge difference.”
To help Toppers achieve its full growth potential, Ellis came on board with two key goals in mind: the brand needed both a cloud-first and mobile-first approach to technology.
“Technology is a building block within an organization, and if we have a strong foundation, we can grow quickly,” Ellis says. “This starts with having an enhanced cloud-based system that’ll give us scalability. The cloud is essentially an enabler. It enables companies that don’t have a giant IT department to get those same full benefits without being slowed down as we continue to grow. We also want to give our customers what they want, and that starts with improving our mobile experience. Ease-of-use will remain a top priority as we look at ways to move forward with our technology.”
On an even larger scale, Ellis is working on building and helping to guide the next generation platform that will ultimately power Toppers’ e-commerce website and growing system of 74 stores. From the brand’s back-end POS system to the consumer-facing website, Ellis says this new project will completely reimagine the technology fueling Toppers from the ground up—a change that will ultimately put the brand one step closer to industry-wide domination.
“My job is to make sure technology is a support system for our brand, not something that will slow us down,” he says. “We want to continue focusing on what we’re really good at and what sets us apart from other pizza brands. By introducing better, faster and more streamlined technology to our system, we’ll be able to grow at a quicker rate than ever before.”