Little Caesars Targets International Markets in Next Growth Phase
Earlier this year Little Caesars opened its first restaurants in the Philippines and Singapore, part of the pizza brand’s targeted expansion efforts in Southeast Asia and, more broadly, its push for international growth.
“We’re of course looking to grow the business, and 95 percent of people live outside the U.S.,” making focused global development a natural next step for the Detroit-based company, noted Mike Therrian when I caught up with him this week at the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference in Las Vegas. Therrian, director of international development at Little Caesars, said the brand now has a presence in 24 markets outside the United States and is able to effectively target value-conscious consumers with its Hot-N-Ready restaurant model.
“There’s always going to be a consumer looking for value and convenience,” said Therrian. “Pizza is a great way to achieve that.”
As it actively pursues growth abroad, Therrian said Little Caesars is looking to partner with operators of existing QSR or retail concepts, and views itself as a complementary brand and one with a sustainable business model. “We’re the last of the four big pizza players who are really entering the global market,” said Therrian. “We see ourselves as the next opportunity for these operators.”
With the $5 Hot-N-Ready pizza central to Little Caesars’ model, pricing research is essential as the brand enters new markets. That research, Therrian said, has shown competitors are dropping prices and consumers are also demanding better value, which means, “We have to be smarter with our supply chain” to help franchisees drive profits. The company is targeting regional growth, noted Therrian, and often develops stores outside major city centers before tackling the more competitive—and expensive—major metros. In addition to helping build brand awareness, he added this strategy allows Little Caesars to establish the aforementioned supply chain before it tackles massive cities such as Mexico City.
“We’re not building a store just to lose money,” he said, in reference to the sometimes splashy openings in big-name international cities that ultimately fail before the brand can establish a foothold. “Every store has got to make money for us.”
The Restaurant Finance & Development Conference continues through Wednesday at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, presented by Franchise Times’ sister publication the Restaurant Finance Monitor.