Pizza! Pizza! (United States)
|Founded||Garden City, Michigan, U.S. (May 8, 1959)|
|Headquarters||2211 Woodward Avenue
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
|Michael Ilitch (Owner)
Marian Ilitch (Owner)
David Scrivano (President)
|Products||Pizza, Chicken Wings, Crazy Bread|
Little Caesars is the third largest pizza chain in the United States, behind Pizza Hut and Domino's Pizza. The Little Caesars headquarters is located in the Fox Theatre building in Downtown Detroit, Michigan.
Little Caesars Pizza was founded by husband and wife Mike and Marian Ilitch on May 8, 1959. The first location was a strip mall in Garden City, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. Mike wanted to call it simply "Pizza Treat," but Marian wanted a name that would be more suitable. Marian considered Mike her "little Caesar". Mike ultimately relented, and the store opened as "Little Caesar's Pizza Treat." The original store is still open today.
The company is famous for its advertising catchphrase, "Pizza! Pizza!" which was introduced in 1979. The phrase refers to two pizzas being offered for the comparable price of a single pizza from competitors. Originally the pizzas were served in a single long package (a piece of corrugated cardboard in 2-by-1 proportions, with two round pizzas placed side by side, then slid into a form-fitting paper sleeve that was folded and stapled closed). In addition to pizza, they served hot dogs, chicken, shrimp, and fish. Little Caesars has discarded the unwieldy packaging in favor of typical pizza boxes.
Little Caesars' profits were declining in the 1990s, due to the company's attempts to offer free delivery. While delivery was free, the cost of the pizza per customer was doubled. Instead of offering two pizzas for the price of one, the company would only offer one pizza at full cost, but included free delivery. The decrease in sales caused a large number of franchises to shut their doors and leave a number of once profitable markets.
The chain opened its first location in Africa in 1998, and continued to experiment with international stores for the next decade.
Starting in 2004, the chain began offering "Hot-N-Ready", a large pepperoni pizza sold for $5. The concept was successful enough to become a permanent fixture of the chain, and Little Caesars' business model has shifted to focus more on carryout.
Little Caesars was among the first to use a new kind of speed cooking conveyor oven, the "Rotary Air Impingement Oven" as described in U.S. Patent 5676044.
On November 1, 2010, Little Caesars introduced Pizza! Pizza! Pantastic, denying that the return of "Pizza! Pizza!" had any relationship to the recent success of Domino's, plus they deliver at some locations. In 2013, Little Caesars brought back the "Pan Pan" concept, only now calling it "Deep Deep Dish". They also expanded the "Hot-N-Ready" line to include plain cheese pizzas, 3 Meat Treat pizzas, and a pepperoni Deep Deep Dish. The plain cheese is $5 while the other two are $8, and in 2014 Little Caesars introduced a Hot-N-Ready lunch combo consisting of half a pepperoni Deep Deep Dish and a twenty-ounce Pepsi product for $5.
On December 10, 2014, Little Caesars announced plans for a new 8-story, 205,000-square-foot Global Resource Center to be built at Woodward Avenue and Columbia Street in downtown Detroit. The new facility will double the size of Little Caesars World Headquarters Campus, currently located in the Fox Office Center building, which houses both the iconic Fox Theatre, and 186,000 square feet of office space for Little Caesars, and other Ilitch-affiliated ventures. The plans include a complete renovation of the 186,000 square foot Fox Office space into a modern, flexible, open and collaborative workspace. An overhead pedestrian bridge over Columbia Street will connect the Fox with the new Little Caesars Global Resource Center, and workspace for an additional 600 jobs to be brought to Detroit over time. Construction will begin in the spring of 2015 and is expected to be complete by the end of calendar 2016.  
Ilitch Holdings, Inc. provides professional and technical services to all companies owned by Mike Illitch. These include the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League, Detroit Tigers of Major League Baseball, Detroit's MotorCity Casino Hotel, Blue Line Foodservice Distribution, Little Caesars Pizza Kits, Champion Foods, Olympia Entertainment, Olympia Development, Uptown Entertainment, and the Hockeytown Cafe (also the site of City Theater) and numerous other restaurants downtown and Fox Theatre in downtown Detroit. In 2005, combined revenues of Ilitch-owned businesses totaled $2 billion.
The company is now looking to expand again, especially in the Northeast U.S. It would also like to return to markets the chain was forced to withdraw from in the late 1990s due to financial troubles such as Pittsburgh, Minneapolis-St. Paul and Denver.
In 2006, the Little Caesars franchise returned to the Twin Cities Market, opening up stores in such busy corners as University Avenue and Snelling Avenue in Midway, Saint Paul, and Lake Street and Hiawatha Avenue, nearby the Midtown light rail station in the Phillips community of Minneapolis and other high foot traffic, low income sections of the Twin Cities. In 2011, the Snelling location moved from an upscale area to a lower income, "poorer" area, fulfilling their practice of catering to low income areas. Domino's has since filled this location. Caesars also began a return to the competitive Pittsburgh market with the opening of new locations in Belle Vernon, Carnegie, Dormont, White Oak, West View, North Versailles, Uniontown, Canonsburg, and New Castle, Pennsylvania along with the Philadelphia market to places such as Norristown. A new location also opened in the Pittsburgh suburb of Whitehall on September 29, 2009, and one in Pittsburgh's upwardly mobile Shadyside neighborhood opened May 15, 2010.
By 1987 the company was operating across the Northern United States, purchasing the Mother's Pizza chain out of receivership in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom in 1989. By 2006 it was also present in parts of Canada (although some Canadian cities had locations since 1969), Puerto Rico, Guam, South Korea, Honduras, Slovakia, the Dominican Republic, Czech Republic, Mexico, Turkey, Ecuador, Egypt, Aruba, Iceland, Guatemala, Curaçao, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, El Salvador, Qatar, Venezuela, UAE, Lebanon, Bahrain and Peru. In 2004, Little Caesars began to sell Hot and Ready pizzas that are available without an order and with no wait. In 2007, Little Caesars ended its partnership with Coca-Cola, opting for Pepsi products instead.
Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, Little Caesars were commonly found in Kmart stores, more specifically in Big Kmarts and Super Kmarts. Coincidentally, the first Kmart and the first Little Caesars were both built in Garden City, Michigan. After Kmart's bankruptcy issues, some of today's Kmarts have replaced the Little Caesars with their own branded "K-Cafe". However, several Little Caesars remain. Little Caesars pizza are also included in many remodeled Kmart locations or re-branded stores such as Sears Grand or Sears Essentials.
Today, Little Caesars is the fastest-growing pizza chain in the world.
Trademark in Canada
While Little Caesars owns the "Pizza! Pizza!" trademark in the U.S., the unaffiliated Pizza Pizza restaurant chain, founded on New Year's Eve in 1967 (a dozen years before Little Caesars began using their trademarked version in the United States) owns the Canadian trademark. As a result, Little Caesars cannot directly use its well-known slogan in Canada, but has used "Two Pizzas!" along with "Delivery! Delivery!", "Quality! Quality!" or other such double-word tag lines in advertising and on packaging in Canada. They have used "Hot 'N Ready!" in their TV commercials for their "Hot 'N Ready" pizzas.
Countries with Little Caesars Pizza locations
- Dominican Republic
- Czech Republic – Was located in a K-Mart store in Brno and in Tesco stores in Prague and Liberec.
- Slovakia – Was located in K-Mart store in Bratislava, which is now Tesco My.
- United Kingdom – one outlet in South Norwood, London
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- LittleCaesars.com - Official U.S. Website
- LittleCaesars.ca - Official Canada Website
- Ilitch Holdings, Inc.
- Official company announcement on building a new 205,000-square-foot Global Resource Center, and expanding its current headquarters campus.
- Official company announcement about entering Costa Rica, Peru and Ireland.