Marian and Mike Ilitch, founders of the Little Caesars pizza chain, are being inducted into the International Franchise Association’s Hall of Fame in 2016. The entrepreneurial couple received the award during the 56th IFA convention, which was held from February 20 to February 23 in San Antonio, Texas.
According to a statement released by the association, their Hall of Fame award is the most prestigious and oldest accolade given by the IFA. It is presented to a member who represents the best of the world of franchising, has made significant contributions to the franchise community, and has helped the advancement of franchising in general.
The Ilitches opened their first business location in Garden City, Michigan, on May 8,1959. In 1962, they sold their first franchise business for $5,000, and Little Caesars Enterprises, Inc. has since grown to more than 4,000 locations. Back in the 1990s, the brand had more than 5,000 locations, but financial issues forced the closure of about half of them. The chain was able to rebound and re-established itself in the market after implementing business strategy changes, including its popular $5 "Hot-N-Ready" sale promo in 2004.
Little Caesars' headquarters moved from the Detroit suburbs of Farmington Hills to the City of Detroit in 1989 after the brand renovated the famous Fox Theatre and its massive 186,000-square-foot space for offices. In 2014, the founding couple announced that another chain headquarters, the Little Caesars Global Resource Center, would be built in 2016 near the Fox Theatre at Columbia Street and Woodward Avenue. The 240,000-square-foot facility will have nine stories and a restaurant on its ground floor.
A good portion of the $3.3 billion revenue earned by the llitch family in 2015 was generated by Little Caesars. Those funds are helping to cover the cost of a 50-block redevelopment around the new $627.5 million hockey facility slated to open in 2017 for the Detroit Red Wings, which are owned by the llitch family. The couple bought the Red Wings in 1982 for $8 million and the Detroit Tigers in 1992 for $85 million.
The chain and its franchisees, who work together in the Independent Organization of Little Caesar Franchises, were also famously part of a court fight in the 1990s that resulted in a settlement that impacted the freedom of franchises, allowing them the ability to buy supplies and good from an outside approved vendor.
The Little Caesars Franchise Opportunity Today
Little Caesars is a globally recognized franchise brand that holds around 14.7 percent of the U.S. pizza market and is always looking to expand. Its 4,000-plus locations generated $3.4 billion in gross sales for 2015, as reported by Pizza Today, and it has stores in 18 international markets and all 50 U.S. states.
Those who are interested in the Little Caesars franchise opportunity can expect a franchisee fee of $20,000, with the total investment ranging from $266,000 to $681,500 on average. The royalty is 6 percent of weekly gross sales.
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