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Jul 3, 2020

Meet:                   Pierre & Janie Neron

Location:             Topper’s Pizza - Kapuskasing – Government Rd. location

What was your first year like as a Topper’s Pizza Franchise owner?

Well, let me start by saying that pizza has been one heck of a learning curve coming from owning a Subway franchise.  My whole staff were rookies when we first opened our doors.  We were overwhelmed during the first two months of operation but with the help of the corporate Topper’s Pizza team, we overcame our adversity. With some tweaking, we eventually became a first-rate solid team.  Our main focus for our location was to eliminate errors and improve our service time.  We achieved our goal.  Because we were the only game in town, we didn’t need to spend that much on advertising, so we concentrated our efforts on satisfying our customers.  I have to thank the staff at Topper’s Pizza headquarters for all the support during that first year.  My present core group of employees are all stars.  Without them we wouldn’t have made it this far.

How are you connected with your community?

My wife and I are both born and raised in Kapuskasing and have been involved in the community at different levels for several years. We are located in a town of 8,300 people so we try and involve ourselves in the community as much as we can by sponsoring local events and minor hockey.  Besides having the Topper’s Pizza logo on the arena ice floor and on the rink boards, we also sponsor two goalies; in Midget Women’s hockey and for the Bantam boy’s rep team.  We are also involved with local events such as the Lumberjack Festival and Rodeo.  We’ve also implemented the Topper’s Feed Your Mind program where school students can earn free pizza by reading a set amount of books.  Even though only one school is participating at this time, we are seeing students come in and redeem their certificates on a regular basis.

Describe some of the challenges you’ve faced as a Franchise owner?

Our biggest challenge has been dealing with the recent opening of a major competitor in our town.  The opening has certainly had an impact on our sales but we are continuing to focus on exceptional customer service and of course serving an Amazingly Delicious product to keep our loyal customers. In order to survive, we had to make hard decisions and better manage our costs.  We believe the tide will turn and we will win this pizza war!  Our service is impeccable and we serve the best pizza in town.  Our Customer Appreciation event held in January was in part to celebrate our first year of operation but mostly to show our customers how much we care about them.  As franchisees, we both work directly with our employees behind the counter, making pizzas, making dough and serving customers.  We have a lot of respect for our staff and in return they respect us. 

Could you provide an update on the Feed Your Mind Program?

The Topper’s Feed Your Mind program is still going strong.  We started with one school on board and with the help of social media, we’ve been able to promote it to thousands of people. An additional school is getting on board for this September and we hope by then to have communicated in person with every school in our town. Parents have responded favourably to the program because it promotes reading which in this day and age with the technology out there, kids tend to lean more towards computers and smart phones.

If a kid reads 25 books and receives a free pizza, the program has done its job.  We even had some repeat customers, meaning that the student had read an additional 25 books!

I'm pleased with this year's outcome and look forward to the coming school year.