Little Caesar’s is one of the largest pizza chains in the United States. it also operates and franchises pizza restaurants internationally in the Middle East, Canada, Australia, Asia, the Caribbean, and Latin America. And although it only offers dine-in carry out option only, the pizza chain still remains to be the third-largest pizza restaurant in the country. Let’s find out how this restaurant came to be.
Little Caesar’s Humble Beginning
The pizzeria was founded by Mike Ilitch and his wife Marian Ilitch in May 1959. Little Caesar’s first location was in a strip mall in Garden City, Michigan and back then it was named “Little Caesar’s Pizza Treat”. The pizzeria is known for its popular catchphrase, “Pizza! Pizza!” which was introduced in 1979 for their advertisement which featured their promo for two pizzas for the price of one.
At first, Little Caesar’s offered chicken, French fries, spaghetti, and of course, pizza. And during their first week on business, Mike and Marian Ilitch sold over 296 pizzas and they soon realized that offering a quality product at low prices was their key to success. Their business proved to be profitable and they managed to open a second restaurant in just two years. And by the end of the 1960s, Little Caesar’s had built and franchised over 50 restaurants including one in Canada. At first, Little Caesar’s offered a delivery service but during the 1970s, the company switched to carry out policy.
In 1971, Little Caesar’s began offering it two-for-one concept and made it a permanent feature of the company’s marketing campaign. This campaign forced competitors in some areas to copy their two-for-one offer.
What’s unique about Little Caesar’s pizza is that they use only natural ingredients like high-gluten flour pizza dough, grade A cheese and specially grown California tomatoes. They also pride itself of their use of all-natural spices compared to the synthetic flavorings which are used all over the pizza industry.
Little Caesar’s continued its rapid growth and marketing innovation during the 1980s. The pizza chain had 226 units with sales of 63.6 million dollars. And their mid-decade annual sales had grown to 340 million dollars. Little Caesar’s achieved this successful expansion by market saturation, offering two pizzas for the price of one and their carryout only policy. Almost 98 percent of Little Caesar’s stores only 1,200 to a 1,800-square-foot unit which offered takeout only. This resulted to lower overhead and maintenance compared to the other pizzerias who offered sit-down and delivery-only service because their stores require fewer busboys, waiters, dishwashers, waitresses.
Little Caesar’s is a family business. Mike, Marian, and several of their children are involved in their business. Mike and Marian see to it that all of their seven children has a role in the success of the company. And in fact, the ties extended beyond the immediate family because almost 85 percent of Little Caesar’s franchisees are relatives which have as many as three generations who are involved in the business. Mike Ilitch also stated that the company’s vice-presidents all started out their work in the restaurants which also helped the company’s rapid growth.
As of 2018, Little Caesar’s can be located in countries such as Canada, Honduras, Mexico, Costa Rica, Guam, the Philippines, Panama, Jordan, Bahamas, Turkey, Egypt, Bahrain, Australia, and Guatemala.
And aside from their two-for-one deals, they are also famous for their Hot-N-Ready menu which was designed to make their popular items available for immediate carry-out. One of their famous pizza is the DEEP! DEEP! Dish pizza which was added in 2013. They also offer flavored bread and chicken wings.
Little Caesar’s Fun Facts
- The pizzeria’s logo was first sketched on a napkin which was done by Don Silverstein when Little Caesar’s first opened their store in 1959.
- Little Caesar’s were one of the first pizza chains to use a conveyor oven.
- Little Caesar’s cannot use their famous catchphrase “Pizza! Pizza!” in Canada because there was already a pizza chain in Canada named Pizza Pizza when they launched their motto.
- The had hired Bill Murray, chef Kerry Simon, and Eminem before they became famous.
- Mike and Marian Ilitch own the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings.
- Little Caesars owns a food truck which feeds the hungry for free.