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Little Caesars is a little piece of Italy to go! Americans love pizza, especially when it is ready to be eaten within a short time! Little Caesars has been serving up its pizza specialties in round or rectangular forms for more than 50 years. The idea to start a restaurant only selling pizzas “to-go” began with a love story older than the company itself!

How a blind date became an international fast food chain

The founders of Little Caesars, Mike Ilitch and Marian Bayoff were both children of Macedonian immigrants. They meet each other in 1954 on a blind date and fell in love instantly and only a few months later, wedding bells were ringing! One year later, 1959 that is, the married couple used their savings to open up the first pizza restaurant in Garden City, Michigan (a suburb of Detroit). Their goal was to do something a little different and they did. Within a few years their idea turned into a successful business enterprise. When they first started, their restaurant was called “Little Caesars Pizza Treat” and was open all hours of the day, like today, to people hungry for pizza. The company’s logo holds true to the restaurant’s name, Little Caesars. When you are walking down the streets of America and you see a small animated Caesar wearing a toga and a laurel crown, you are in the right place to pick up your take-away pizza!

Little Caesars takes over America

The couple started to expand the restaurant in 1962 by opening the first franchise store in Michigan. Only 10 years after their first restaurant opened, Little Caesars celebrated opening its 50th restaurant. The path to becoming one of the biggest fast food chains was smooth and the idea to only offer food to-go soon became an international hit. There are only a few places to sit, but usually the seats are not needed since the pizza comes direct from the oven into the box - then your hands! There are even some franchises that have drive-thrus. In the meanwhile, Little Caesars has expanded into all 50 states and you can even enjoy a delicious pizza while traveling through Australia, Turkey, Mexico and a number of other countries.

Pizza!Pizza! is the famous Little Caesars’ slogan and was first used in 1979. The two cheers for pizza represent being able to buy double the amount of pizza for the price of one. In addition, the company started using rectangular boxes which were long enough to hold two pizzas.

Whether round or rectangular – Little Caesars offers everything

Little Caesars’ menu is not large, which is uncommon for American restaurants, but instead offers a delicious selection of popular pizzas from classic pepperoni to vegetarian creations. There is a total of seven different pizza toppings that man can choose from. Popular pizza sides like chicken wings or bread sticks baked with parmesan cheese and garlic are also on the menu. For an incredible $5, their Hot’N’Ready pizzas which are immediately available for take-away -a price unmatched by their competitors. In addition to the classical pizza, Little Caesars also serves up a Deep!Deep!Dish Pizza: a Detroit style deep dish pizza served in a rectangular form. And true to American tastes, Little Caesars also serves up pizzas with crusts stuffed with cheese! If that is not enough for you, they also offer a salami pizza with a double crust made out of salami and cheese for only $10.  

The concept of this fast food restaurant combines high-quality pizza and fast food: the best pizza to-go and now! The so-called 15 minute service, which customers in the 60’s would see as a neon sign in the window of the restaurant, still rings true today. Especially with help from improved, specialized ovens.

All roads lead to Detroit

Despite the great success of their company Little Caesars, the married Illitch couple never moved away from Detroit, Michigan. Their passion and entrepreneurial spirit goes beyond the realm of just pizza and includes sports, culture and education. They bought two professional sporting teams in 1982 and 1992. The first team they bought, the Detroit Red Wings, is an ice-hockey team that plays in the National Hockey League and has won a variety of titles such as the Stanley Cup. The couple has been active in supporting the smaller and younger ice hockey players since 1968. Future professional ice hockey players can start practicing in “The Little Caesars Amateur Hockey League”. The second team they own is the Detroit Tigers which play in the National Baseball League. 

In the year 1987, Mike and Marian Illitch bought the long-neglected Fox Theater in Detroit and renovated the building which was first built in the year 1928. Only one year later, the building was restored to its original grandeur and is now used for cultural events like concerts, plays and classical movies.

The Wayne State University in Detroit received a donation from the family totaling $40 million in 2015 to build a new school of business. The Ilitch family has played a vital role in strengthening the image of Detroit and this donation was a serious milestone in the improvement of Detroit’s education sector.

More than(k) pizza

Since 1985, Little Caesars has been helping those in need through their Love Kitchen program. Throughout the entire year, two Love Kitchen trucks drive across the United States and Canada to deliver pizzas to the less fortunate and homeless. The Love Kitchen program has been recognized for its charitable works by presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton who awarded it the President’s Volunteer Action Award Citation. Their charitable acts don’t stop there either: Since 2016, Little Caesars has been helping veterans returning to the workforce by either hiring them or opening up new employments paths for them.

As the children of Macedonian immigrants, the Illitch family is truly living out the American Dream. The couple has used their success to improve their home city of Detroit and serve up good quality pizza all over the world! Would you also like to try a traditional salami pizza from Little Caesars and experience a bit of Italy in America? Take advantage of your opportunity to apply for the Green Card Lottery now! It is never too late to fulfill your very own American Dream. One pizza and Green Card to go please! 

Official name: Little Caesars

Official website: www.littlecaesars.com

Established: 1959

Founders: Mike und Marian Ilitch

First store: 32594 Cherry Hill, Garden City, Michigan 48135

Milestones:

  • The expansion of the company began in 1962 and by 1969, Little Caesars celebrated its 50th restaurant.
  • Great emphasis is placed on the Ilitch couple’s dedication to their home city of Detroit.

Bestseller: Hot’N’Ready for $5

Slogans: “Pizza, Pizza” since 1979; Just come in and grab a Hot’N’Ready Pizza today!; The last thing you have time for is to make an appointment for your pizza

Interesting facts: The donation of $40 million to the Wayne State University in 2015 was the largest in the University’s history. It is the tenth highest donation ever made to a public school in the United States.

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