Many after-school jobs are simply a way for teenagers to earn pocket money, but Vicki Dunn-Marshall has turned hers into a career for life. She owns 24 Little Caesars locations in three states after starting in the business at just 15 years old.
Investment and growth opportunities kept her in the business for decades. Not only is Little Caesars a favorable brand to work with, Dunn-Marshall said, but the chain offers “great value for money” on both the customer and franchise side. Dunn-Marshall recently agreed to open 10 new units in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“We’re high quality,” Dunn-Marshall said. “This is something Little Caesars doesn’t shout loud enough. Our ingredients are premium.
Little Caesars, which often touts its cheap deals and value leadership, is the fourth-largest pizza chain, with 4,181 locations. He’s behind Dominos (18,848), Pizza Hut (18,518) and Papa John’s (5,650), but is starting to accelerate his growth with several new multi-unit signings and a five-year contract with the NFL to be announced. his official pizza sponsorreplacing Pizza Hut.
“If they try us, they’ll get it,” said Vice President of Franchise Development Craig Sherwood. “I think people will be very, very surprised, if they haven’t tasted our product, to really try it and compare it to any other pizza. We really believe that they will become loyal customers, and we see it.
Little Caesars is growing in existing and new markets. In addition to the Dunn-Marshall expansion, the brand’s recent deals include a 19-unit deal with majors KFC and Sonic, operator CMG, and a 10-unit deal for Tampa, Florida with Starbeds. Legacy QSR, which operates Dunkin’, Popeyes and Checkers. units throughout the state.
“It makes sense,” said Dunn-Marshall, whose existing restaurants are in West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio. The Charlotte area is “a rapidly growing region”.
Since becoming a franchisee, she has helped five of her employees do the same, either by selling them a store or sponsoring them. (Little Caesars requires referrals from existing franchisees when applying for a new candidate.)
The brand may gravitate around existing operators like CMG, but Little Caesars also appeals to smaller contractors. The company offers incentive programs for first responders and military veterans that include franchise fee rebate, advertising support, other rebates and financing assistance.
“They’ve been very successful franchisees for us, so we continue to recruit and attract those kinds of smaller entrepreneurs as well,” Sherwood said.
Experienced Franchisee Greg Nigro, President of Outer Banks Food Services, opened a Little Caesars unit, with an agreement to open seven more in Outer Banks, North Carolina, and Norfolk, Virginia. He has 45 Dunkin’ units in the area.
Nigro wanted to expand the company’s portfolio, and Little Caesars “jumped on us as a brand and an opportunity,” he said. He attributed Little Caesars’ appeal to its quality ingredients, Pizza Portal technology, and price point for customers and franchisees.
Little Caesars’ signing and opening process lives up to Nigro’s previous efforts.
“They were very helpful and very supportive,” Nigro said. “When you can have a good relationship, that’s a big factor. The sky is the limit when the franchisee and the franchisor work together to achieve something. That’s really what makes it special.
He is excited about the brand’s recent and upcoming growth.
“I, for one, joined Little Caesars for a reason,” Nigro said. “I’m looking at big things for the brand in the not too distant future.”
The initial investment to open a Little Caesars franchise ranges from $378,700 to $1.7 million; its franchise fee is $20,000.
The brand is known for its “Hot N Ready” pizza, previously $5 a pie. This year, the brand has raised prices to $5.55 across the board, and prices may fluctuate in different markets. With that increase came a bonus for customers: a 33% increase in the number of pepperoni slices per pizza, Sherwood said.
“We create fans,” Sherwood said. “It’s really about getting them into our door and getting them into a pizza.”