The Little Caesars Pizza Restaurant was almost called “Pizza Treat” (If Michael, co-creator/owner would have had his way). Fortunately, he didn’t and Marian the other partner and CEO had the last say in calling it a name that she felt was more “fitting” to her partner- Little Caesars. She would say that he was her little Caesar and thus the name was born (as well as all those hilarious pizza commercials and that guy in a toga on the box- we love it! Let’s dive deeper down the Pizza rabbit hole…
The original Little Caesars that started an amazing 5.00 pizza (most popular item) business unlike any other pizza joint out there- still stands and is located in Garden City, Michigan in a strip mall! What really takes the cake- er I mean the pizza, is that they somehow branded one of the most amazing catch phrases in the pizza industry. It’s so simple, so powerful, yet so hard to forget that marketing is just easy. What was it?
Simply- “Pizza, Pizza”! Which was “coined” in 1979 almost 20 years after they launched! When they started mixing humorous pizza commercials (with cartoons and unforgettable themes) with the catch phrase, people couldn’t help but say it when they wanted- wait for it…. PIZZA!
Remember the Commercials ALL THE TIME?
What truly made Little Caesars pizza restaurant amazing wasn’t just its cleaver advertising and humorous all be it memorable theme that mocks Rome to the core (that we love too!), but the pizza they make is actually quite decent for the price. We’ll talk a bit more about the commercial wars between Dominoes Pizza and Little Caesars a bit further down…
Price Is Their Best Niche Especially In The Crashing Economy
Although the price remained the same (because that was their most valuable “niche” market that no other restaurant could compete with!) the quality has come down a bit over the years as the economy slumped and they reduced the toppings, the size of the crust thickness, and even the cheese (the sauce got pretty skimpy actually)- but this is only on their 5.00 models. This is their flagship pizza and it will always be their Niche- but pay 3.00 more and you get a MUCH better pizza- pass it on.
They have more expensive pizza (but still very cheap), and they make sure to give you a better deal (topping, crust, sauce wise) on those and adding paid for toppings beyond the 5.00 pizzas cheese and peperoni only- definitely makes up for the taste.
Helping Poor People Eat More Than
Bread For Over 40 years!
Little Caesars has been helping poor people eat a hearty meal since 1959 and continues the 5.00 pizza tradition even today. When your starving you hardly notice the cheap pizza isn’t your Round Table goodness but none the less if your out of groceries, have nothing to eat but pickles and bread, peanut butter and stale bread- that LC 5.00 gem is a gold mine!
Trust me I know- I grab that pizza all the time, all be it I add more toppings to it at home as the grocery store has better prices on those than getting them at the pizzeria, but these things I get anyway so the price is awesome- think of it like buying a steak then adding marinade to it from your already purchased ingredients.
The best way to go to this place is to use a coupon they mail out all the time (and you can download online). Their more expensive (next up large) pizza includes 3 toppings for a mere 2.00 more (so 7.00 with coupon gets you thicker crust, more sauce, and ample toppings- I recommend the Hawaiian one .
The Pizza Dancers -
Brilliant Marketing Innovation That Sparked A Whole New Way For MANY Businesses To Affordably PULL People In From Their CARS!
If you insist on the 5.00 pizza don’t just walk in and order it. They sell so many of these that they have a “warmer” in the front packed full of pre-made pizzas (which they feed to that guy on the corner with the sign dancing like crazy to traffic about the 5.00 pizza deal when it “expires”). That pizza guy actually made history (not the one pictured but the concept). It was one of the first marketing innovations that turned a simple street sign into a live dancing role model for making Pizza “hip”.
The brilliance is that they paid 10.00 an hour for someone to stand out there and you could listen to your music because they wanted you to dance! A few really motivated “sign Dancers” (I have no idea what they were called “internally”) made the news, made blogs worldwide, and put Little Caesars into some FREE and POTENT advertising via viral videos (from people’s phones to YouTube!). To this day businesses employ this a great deal to sell anything from pizza to mattresses to even Open Houses for real-estate sales!
The Cheap Pizza Has An Achilles Heal… It Expires Fast… thus why the “pizza dancer” concept was born. To SELL SELL SELL these pizzas they had to premake to keep up with their other image (fast, hot, fresh)… People loved to get a pizza fresh, hot, and to pay and get it like they just bought a bag of chips! (which they sell at the counter. Nice.)
The problem is that these pizzas are supposed to expire after 5 minutes in the warmer but the business owners don’t like to lose that money on wasted pizza, and even if that weren’t the problem- the employees can’t see wasting it either and often let it sit in there much longer than 5 minutes justifying that it’s still warm- but remember this is a cheap pizza with very little sauce on it and scarce toppings so although delicious fresh- it’s not so good as a cold pizza (like we all love right? well that’s because the toppings are flourishing making cold pizza yummy, but with just peperoni and little sauce makes cold pizza not so good).
5.00 Pizza Is Like MacDonald’s French Fries – Get ‘em While They’re Hot!
This is like fast food french fries- great when you get it “Just made” but not so much when it’s old- keep that in mind. Again, I love this pizza when it’s fresh (although I always tend to get one peperoni and one Hawaiian)…
That said, when you walk in, coupon or not- always ask for a fresh pizza, not one in the portable “toaster” oven they perch up front to bring the smell to your nostrils as you walk in . Part of the problem is that this heat vents for that reason and thus can’t possibly keep a pizza THAT warm even after 5 minutes.
If you ask for a freshly made one they always do it- and if they won’t do it (never happens but just in case let me arm you) order one with one topping but NOT peperoni (they may just grab an “old” peperoni and add toppings (who knows if there is another warmer in the back for employees or something, and people that make minimum wage that made 100 pizzas in the last 2 hours before the end of their shift may not be exactly scrupulous .
They will then HAVE TO make it fresh. This is a brilliant way to order anything fast food.
Order it special and not in a way that they can just add something i.e. if the burger from MacDonald’s comes with ketchup on their 1.00 burger, order yours without ketchup- due to allergic reactions and fear of lawsuits they will have no choice (and are very strict about it trust me) but to make you fresh burgers, they can’t even wipe off the ketchup because if a trace amount is on there and your allergic they could be sued for millions- so make sure you say your allergic to ketchup).
How Do They Keep The Price At 5.00?
You pick it up. Your gas expense not theirs- especially these days.
Little Caesars is primarily a take out pizza. They just started delivering in some areas but most of their stores are only show up and buy it there. This may be due to the fact that their most popular pizza may not stay fresh for the trip to your house! (although that’s pure speculation). Personally I believe the pizza tastes great for about 30 minutes to an hour later with the more toppings you have on it the more “preservative” rich it is (goes longer without losing taste quality). You know why MacDonald’s puts so much salt on their fries? It’s due to the fact that they taste worse as they get cold- well think of the “more toppings” as the salt but don’t let it get cold.
Little Caesars also has many other trademark flagship products including that delectable crazy bread, baked and seasoned with lots of butter garlic and cheese- these used to taste amazing warm OR cold, but I noticed over the years they don’t maintain flavor more than several hours, likely due to a cut in ingredients like butter or garlic or even abundance of cheese.
Many have noticed a subtle change in their pizza over the years but it got to the point where their “cutting corners” to “preserve” price at the expense of quality- has turned a lot of loyal customers who’d gladly of paid a few dollars more- away. They started to add more toppings (but not much), enough to bring it back to a tolerable level- and even advertised “twice as much cheese and peperoni, but the irony is they simply returned to what the pizza used to be!
The change was likely in connection with a new “affordable” pizza hitting the scene in the late 80′s early 90′s (not a new restaurant but a competitive priced pizza to compete with Little Caesars)- Dominoes Pizza! Dominoes came out with a vengeance and invented the “delivery” pizza model which blended affordable pizza (more cheese and toppings too) that was pretty much the same as the Little Caesars original 5.00 pizza (but it was like their original pizza from another restaurant competing with their downgraded version!) at twice the price but they also delivered it free (this was before the gas crisis). Caesars no doubt lost a great deal of business as people wanted a better pizza and were willing to pay a bit more for a slightly better pizza with free delivery.
The “Pizza Pizza” concept was also likely a battle tool in the “Roman Pizza” war with Dominoes. Caesars aggressively began to advertise along side- often even having commercials at the same time or directly after a Dominoes Pizza commercial! They had very cleaver (Avoid The Noid, remember that??? The Noid was a hallmark of “cold, cheap, nasty tasting because it got cold- pizza!) and entertaining commercials and a 30 minutes or it’s free gamble (for the company) that made the gambler in all of us stand up to the challenge of paying a bit more but possibly getting the pizza FREE! Brilliant!
Both restaurants are still standing strong- nobody really knocked anyone out- (although Little Caesars has now become the fastest growing pizza chain in the world where Dominoes used to hold that spot, this is due to aggressive growth and innovative ways of pushing their product into various venues like games, internationally and domestically- and mergers that gave them more money, but also a big part of it is likely the economy in the toilet and the pending dissolution of the “middle class” and the appendage to the “poor” class due to so much turmoil in our economy- thus 5.00 pizza is an amazing deal where the next lowest price is 10.00)… but Dominoes is still the next biggest and the two companies race neck and neck for the top spot- neither too concerned for being second but definitely not wanting to be third!
Ahh The Commercials!
The war made for some amazing prime time commercials- ah we miss those commercials that used up all the “prescription drug” spots that just replaced the 80′s-90′s car commercials and the “I’ll paint any car for just 99.95 commercials. We think we hated the car ones until we got the prescription drug commercials 8 out of 10 spots during prime time and day time television- but we sure will miss the Caesars and Dominoes (and later Pizza Hut, Round Table, and others) commercials that dominated our televisions. Those were the days when I didn’t mind watching commercials so much…
Today you can find Little Caesars in strip malls (most popular place to find it is near a video rental store- which will soon no longer exist), at ball games (they even own teams!), and innovative venues worldwide. They are the Coca Cola of marketing experts- they appear everywhere, even pizza carts at schools!
The bottom line is that they have delicious pizza if you get it fresh. It’s affordable (very), and well worth the money. I’ve been on a 10.00 for 3 days food budget many times in my life (some recent actually due to my paycheck not making it to my mailbox and adsense tanking) but that can get you 2 pizzas and although not so good cold- it’s better than stale bread and hot dogs none the less (and you can buy one now one later and eat for a few days if you only eat 3 slices a day *grin*).