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 in 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.
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.
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 companies owned by Mike Illitch. These include the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League, Detroit Tigers of Major League Baseball, 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.
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.
Little Caesars sold its first franchise in 1962, and by 1987 had restaurants in all 50 states. 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.
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, Costa Rica, Slovakia, the Dominican Republic, Czech Republic, Mexico, Turkey, Ecuador, Egypt, Iceland, Guatemala, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, El Salvador, Qatar, Venezuela, UAE, Lebanon, Bahrain and Peru.
Little Caesars specializes in a variety of pizzas. Several core menu items are part of the HOT-N-READY menu, which does not require advanced ordering, while others are made to order and customizable using an assortment of toppings, which vary by store. Standard pizza options include their Classic Cheese and/or Pepperoni, Italian Sausage Pizza, Hula Hawaiian Pizza, Three Meat Treat Pizza, Ultimate Supreme Pizza and Veggie Pizza. In 2013, they added the DEEP!DEEP! Dish Pizza to the menu, which can be ordered as a full-size, 8-corner pizza, or as of 2014, in a smaller portion with a Pepsi product as part of their lunchtime combo deal.
On occasion, Little Caesars releases limited time offers. In 2014, they introduced the Soft Pretzel Crust Pizza, which was brought back for a second stint in 2015 due to high demand.
Little Caesars was the first among pizza chains in their category to introduce a pizza wrapped in bacon when they released the Bacon Wrapped Crust Pizza, also in 2015, which featured their deep dish pizza wrapped in 3.5 feet of bacon.
The Little Caesars Love Kitchen is a kitchen on wheels that serves pizza to those in need. Since its creation in 1985, it has traveled to 48 states and 4 Canadian provinces, and responded to several disasters, including the September 11 terrorist attacks. Former Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush recognized the Love Kitchen by awarding Little Caesars with The President’s Volunteer Action Award Citation.
In 2006, Little Caesars started its Veterans Program, which provides incentives to honorably discharged veterans looking to open their own business when transitioning back to civilian life or seeking a career change. Mike Ilitch was inspired to start the program after hearing a story about a veteran who lost both legs in war returning to civilian life.
- 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.