Founded in 1959, Little Caesars is the third most popular pizza chain in the U.S. It has franchises all over the world, including Canada, Australia and Asia. In 2017, the number of Little Caesars locations was 4,332 in the United States and 1,177 globally, with an annual revenue of more than $4.4 billion. Up to 90 percent of all its units are franchised. Opening a Little Caesars pizza franchise may seem like a great opportunity, but it comes with its challenges.

Why Little Caesars?

This international pizza chain has a loyal customer base and enjoys popularity worldwide. Little Caesar’s vision is to offer quality pizza at an affordable price. Its emphasis on value and convenience has helped strengthen the brand and contributes to its global success. The company grew from a single store to an international chain with millions of customers.

Little Caesars has always led by innovation. It was the first pizza chain to offer two-for-one deals and sell its products in unconventional locations, such as military bases and sports areas. Its HOT-N-READY offer was designed for customers who wanted to order pizza on the spot without having to wait in line. Nowadays, these services are quite common, but decades ago, it was unusual for a pizza chain to provide such level of customer care.

Starting a Little Caesars franchise has its perks. The company offers training for new franchises as well as ongoing support. Additionally, it doesn't require experience in food service, so anyone can open a restaurant. All new locations are equipped with the tools needed to operate the business and reflect Little Caesars' vision.

How much money you'll earn depends on your marketing efforts and the franchise location. In 2017, the company generated sales of $3.72 billion in the U.S. Since it had 4,332 locations nationwide, the income potential is quite high.

Start a Little Caesars Franchise

The first step to opening a Little Caesars franchise is to contact a regional representative and discuss your options. There are opportunities in most states. Depending on your budget and how much space you have available, you can open a Classic Express, Self-Serve Express or Cashier Express unit. A Self-Serve Express unit, for example, must be 475 square feet and have one or two employees. Classic Express, by comparison, requires a full menu and staff and at least 800 square feet.

Next, submit your application and supporting documents. If you meet the eligibility criteria, you will receive a Franchise Disclosure Document that must be signed. After you return the document, you'll attend an interview and Discovery Day to learn about this business model and provide more information about yourself. Once you've completed these steps, you'll be notified whether or not your application has been approved.

The cost to open a Little Caesars franchise depends on the type of unit. Applicants must have a net worth of at least $250,000 and $100,000 or more in liquid assets. Furthermore, they must be able to obtain financing to cover the costs of starting the business. The initial investment ranges from $334,000 to over $1.3 million. After you make a deposit and secure a location, you'll attend training classes. When you’re done, you can open your own Little Caesars franchise. The whole process takes 120 to 365 days.

Are There Any Drawbacks?

Just because you're partnering up with a popular brand doesn't mean that you'll be successful. Franchises open and close all the time. Entrepreneur Alan Knox, for example, had to close his Little Caesars franchise in Kansas City this year due to disagreements with the corporate company. Another location in Indianapolis, IN was shut down by health inspectors after finding rodent droppings in the pizza crust.

Your business may fail for a multitude of reasons, from a bad location or poor marketing to failure to comply with health and safety standards. Additionally, the high cost to open a Little Caesars franchise and the long application process can turn off aspiring entrepreneurs. Besides the initial investment, you'll have to pay royalty fees, advertising fees, annual support fees, onsite Caesar Vision costs (the company's digital menu system), support fees, renewal fees and more.

Weigh the pros and cons before making a decision. Operating a franchise has its advantages, but running your own restaurant may offer greater flexibility and involve lower costs.