Little Ceasars

Does anyone on the board here have recent Little Ceasars experience(since Hot and Ready)? If so please let me know as I have some questions.

Paul,
PM me your email and I will tell you of our experience. We had an LC open about a par 5 from our front door

Rick

Rick/Paul would you share on here as well please?

Some of the information i shared with Paul does not need to be in the open forum that is why I asked for e-mail.

Here is my response to Paul, edited for the forum

In September '07 we had a Walmart Super Center open back behind the shopping center I am in. That pulled food traffic away from out Food lion and negatively impacted sales. Then in October a little Caesars opened in an out building in front of walmart. WE experienced a 40-50% drop in weekly sales overnight

Prior to Little Caesars opening we went to another LC store and sampled their product and thought that it would only be a short term effect because their pizza, at least to me, is not as good as a name brand frozen pizza. I honestly did not think my customers would settle for that pizza. Since they do not offer variety or quality we decided to stress these points and our marketing focused on our specialty pizzas and bundles for a couple of months prior to their opening. We thought we were positioned well and would weather the storm easily.

We door hung every day, drove around everywhere with car toppers on so our customers would see us. We door hung the ultimate pizza guarantee. It created some buzz, and we got a few regulars back with that. By summer of 2008 we were back up to about 70% of our former sales.

Unless they are really incompetent you will lose the bottom feeders that go to the place with the best deal. We also noticed a huge decrease in scammers calling to ay they wanted a credit for a pizza because their pizza was wrong. I guess they could just as easily get a 5.00 pizza and not have to worry if I would believe them. It has been suggested that I am better off without these people but even though they were a pain to deal with they did boost the bank account.

I see people show up here frequently to pick up a call in order for stromboli, hoagies or pasta with a LC box in their car to feed the kids, that is something you will have to get used to. The philosophy is it’s ok for the kids to eat but the adults want our stuff…

Get used to people asking you to match their price. On their mind a large pepperoni pizza is now worth $5.00. " I like your pizza a lot better than theirs but why can’t you sell yours for $5.00" My response has been basically to tell the customer what sets our pizza apart from theirs and that I could not sell our pizza for $5.00 unless I used their ingredients and techniques, in which case my pizza would no longer be my pizza. If they get persistent I politely ask them if they would consider asking LC to make a pizza like mine and charge $5.00.

I don’t know what we could have done different to maintain more of our market share or if any of this is helpful to you, but we survived the opening of LC and are still ahead on our mortgage. The most difficult part for us was trying to maintain a positive attitude and stay motivated.

thanks for sharing that.

I think it depends on a few things.

First if it is a newer store or an older store

-If it is an older store they probably are company owned and are using older equipment and the general condition would be lesser compared to a newer location (franchise or non)

Is the store is a franchisee or a corporation store?

In my market there are a zillion legacy LCs, old corporate stores which survived the monster foldup which happened and reduced store count and flushed many franchisees in the process. Ive never seen an older store in what I would consider top condition or being run in a fashion which I see newer franchisee stores.

The newer stores have the XLT ovens, more efficient and intelligent store design and are up to date with current fixtures and look.

The difference in product compared to the older ovens (MMs or Lincolns) is night and day, you can drive 10 minutes from one older store and to a newer store with the XLT and the pizzas are nothing of the same.

I consider the newer product to be comparable to many mom and pops which I have tried and even better than many. Given their price point and speed of pickup I could see why they take market share.

It is also a misnomer that they have limited selections, that is not true at all. They offer a full menu including their pan pizza, wings, crazy bread, cheese bread, everything they have served in the past is available now, it just isnt the focus of their marketing.

I dont know why people bash the product, I worked there years ago during the craze and I think they make a decent product. It isnt as good as my sauce from scratch, better cheese and thinner crust, but unlike other chain and small biz pizza, I would order it and consider it a great value and decent taste.

My experience w/Little Caesar’s began in the Detroit area, where they began…it was even b4 PizzaPizza (2-4-1 began their claim 2 fame) - the pizza was o.k.

But years & expansion changed their focus…

True, some of the newer stores may have a better product, but the own that price point…

When I worked for CiCI’s, they, to, have a bar rep in many aspects, but when you visit a volume store, its not a bad product & the price point is there…

We operators can make a decent pizza @ a similar price point, but you need the volume to make it work…

You portion the cheese (Grande, of course…) and you need to sell a boat-load & don’t offer delivery…

You’d be surprised how many pies you can turn out with a small staff, without delivery…

I consumed my first LC pizza in nearly 20 years about a month ago and was surprised at how poor the quality was.

Back in my Navy days in San Diego, we had an LC close by and I can still remember it fairly well. What I had last month was quite a bit different. The crust was spongy and did not seem fresh. It was a $5 “Hot and Ready” but the crust was was born deficient. I remember Tombstone pizzas tasting better than that.

They had brand new XLTs (triple stack) and a clean place but the pizza was really substandard IMHO.

But I suppose volume is the key.