Fox Theatre, where the headquarters of Little Caesars is located
May 8, 1959|
Garden City, Michigan, US
2211 Woodward Avenue|
Detroit, Michigan, US
Number of locations
|David Scrivano (President)|
|Products||Pizza, Chicken Wings, Crazy Bread|
Little Caesar Enterprises Inc. (doing business as Little Caesars) is the third-largest pizza chain in the United States, behind Pizza Hut and Domino's Pizza. It operates and franchises pizza restaurants in the United States and internationally in Asia, the Middle East, Australia, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean. The company was founded in 1959 and is based in Detroit, Michigan, headquartered in the Fox Theatre building in Downtown. Little Caesar Enterprises, Inc. operates as a subsidiary of Ilitch Holdings, Inc.
Little Caesars Pizza was founded on May 8, 1959, by Mike Ilitch and his wife Marian Ilitch. The first location was in a strip mall in Garden City, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit, and named "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 square pizzas placed side by side, then slid into a form-fitting paper sleeve that was folded and stapled closed). Little Caesars has since discarded the unwieldy packaging in favor of typical pizza boxes. In addition to pizza, they served hot dogs, chicken, shrimp, and fish.
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 December 10, 2014, Little Caesars announced plans for a new eight-story, 205,000-square-foot Global Resource Center to be built at Woodward Avenue and Columbia Street in downtown Detroit. Intended to double the size of Little Caesars World Headquarters Campus, the new building's location was chosen near the Fox Office Center building, which houses both the Fox Theatre, and 186,000 square feet of office space for Little Caesars, and other Ilitch-affiliated ventures. An overhead pedestrian bridge over Columbia Street was planned to 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. On January 31, 2016, it was announced that the proposed new Little Caesars Pizza Global Resource Center had grown by one floor to be a nine-story building at Woodward and Columbia Street.
In 2017, to coincide with the opening of Little Caesars Arena, the company launched a slightly updated logo, which removed the Caesar's chest hair, updated the wreath, and updated the toga to have hidden letters spelling "LC" for "Little Caesars". The company also started using the updated Caesar in its advertising, replacing the more cartoonish Caesar that had been used in ads since the 1980s.
Ilitch Holdings, Inc. manages professional and technical services to companies owned by Marian Ilitch. These include the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League (whose NHL arena, as of 2017, is named for the pizza chain), the Detroit Tigers of Major League Baseball, Blue Line Foodservice Distribution, Little Caesars Pizza Kits, Champion Foods, Olympia Entertainment, Olympia Development, Uptown Entertainment, the Hockeytown Cafe (also the site of City Theater), and the Fox Theatre in downtown Detroit.
While Little Caesars owns the "Pizza! Pizza!" trademark in the U.S., the unaffiliated Canadian Pizza Pizza restaurant chain, founded on New Year's Eve in 1967, in Toronto (twelve years before Little Caesars began using its trademarked version in the United States) owns the Canadian trademark. As a result, Little Caesars cannot directly use its well-known slogan in Canada, due to a copyright claim by JAD Productions Corporation. Instead, the company has used "Two Pizzas!" along with "Delivery! Delivery!", "Quality! Quality!" or other such double-word tag lines in its advertising and 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. 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 was 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. As of 2018, the company is present in Canada (some Canadian cities had locations since 1969), Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, Guam, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Guatemala, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, El Salvador, Jamaica, Bahrain, Australia, Trinidad and Tobago and Chile.
Little Caesars specializes in a variety of pizzas. Several core menu items are part of the HOT-N-READY menu, designed to make popular items available for immediate carry-out, 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, a Detroit-style pizza, to the menu.
On occasion, Little Caesars releases limited time offers. In 2014, they introduced the Soft Pretzel Crust Pizza, and in 2015, the Bacon Wrapped Crust Pizza, which featured their deep dish pizza wrapped in 3.5 ft (1.067 m) 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.