Buddy’s Pizza, creator of the original, and most-awarded, Detroit-style pizza, has named Chris Tussing its new chief executive officer. Prior to joining Buddy’s, Tussing was the chief marketing officer of Marco’s Pizza, where he helped it become the fastest-growing brand in the category, achieve $1 billion in annual sales and become the fifth largest pizza brand.
“I knew coming in that Buddy’s had a rich heritage rooted in high-quality food and hospitality,” said Tussing. “What became apparent soon after joining, was how deep of an emotional bond there is between the brand and our team members and guests.” Buddy’s employs nearly 1,500 people through its corporately owned stores and sees an employee retention rate well above industry averages. “I love hearing the pride in team members’ voices when they tell me they’ve been here 30+ years, 20 years or 17 years. There is a passion here not found in many brands,” continues Tussing.
Throughout his 30-year career, Tussing has helped launch brands, as well as revitalize long-established but declining ones. He’s worked with several major Fortune 500 companies, like Clorox, Wrigley, Mars and Anheuser-Busch, as well as mid-sized companies and startups. Tussing is an expert in strategy and brand positioning, and has worked at a number of the world’s leading global marketing networks in New York, Chicago and San Francisco.
As CEO of Buddy’s Pizza, Tussing is responsible for driving enterprise growth for the more than 75-year-old industry originator, which now has 22 locations throughout Michigan. With the brand’s commitment to consistently delivering high-quality food and hospitality, Tussing has hired Joe Dominiak as chief operating officer. In his role as COO, Dominiak, who brings extensive experience with brands like Skyline Chili, Tilted Kilt and Camp Bow Wow, is responsible for driving operational excellence and delivering employee and guest engagement.
“Buddy’s set a new standard for pizza 77 years ago, and it’s inspiring to see the heart and craft team members put into the product and guest experience every day,” says Dominiak. “I’m excited to work with Chris and the team to help this iconic brand scale successfully.”
Dominiak comes to Buddy’s Pizza with more than 25-years of industry experience, most recently with the ARC group, a publicly-traded, multi-concept restaurant portfolio with 329 locations nationwide, where he served as president and chief operating officer. He guided ARC Group through identifying, vetting and integration of brand mergers and acquisitions to the portfolio, steering brands as they transitioned from company-owned operations to franchisee-focused brands, and lead their unit and top line sales growth.