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Carlos Vidal, Little Caesars’ Vice President of Development (middle) with franchisees Jas and Ras Sandhu.

Little Caesar’s bolsters growth in the UK with its pizza-in-30-seconds model

The brand aims to conquer the market through good value and fresh ingredients.

Little Caesars is planning to bolster its presence in the UK aiming to compete in the fast-food industry using its pizza-in-30-seconds business model. However, a recent report by advertising platform Cardlytics revealed that takeaway pizzas recently averaged only an 11% rise in average transactions, beaten by other chicken shops and other fast-food chains.

In a quick interview with Carlos Vidal, Little Caesars’ Vice President of Development, he outlines Little Caesars' growth plan as they aim to take a bigger piece of the market.

QSR Media Could you tell us more about Little Caesars' presence in the UK?

Carlos: We have three sites in the UK, since opening our first site in Derby in 2023, we subsequently opened in Nottingham and most recently, Greenford in London. We’ve noticed there is a trend where U.K. consumers have an appetite for fresh but good value meals which all the family can enjoy. The UK follows Spain and Portugal's market entries in our European growth strategy. The country has great potential and we believe Little Caesar’s Value, Quality and Convenience core brand positioning is a great match for the current market conditions.

What challenges have you experienced as you grow your presence in the UK?

It is no secret that the pizza market is a competitive one but we genuinely believe our pizza is the best value for money, using fresh ingredients including fresh dough prepared daily in the store, vine-ripened tomatoes and cheese without fillers - there is something for everyone at a great price and this is how we stand out.
 
How have you navigated this challenge? Can you give me an example?

As a new brand to the UK market, the biggest challenge is to spread the word as far as possible about the quality, freshness and value of our pizzas! To celebrate the recently opened Greenford site in London we hosted a grand opening event and gave away free pizza for a year to 100 people.

These celebratory moments in the local communities where we have our sites are the best way to get the word out there and tell our story.

Why the focus on London? What opportunities do you see in the market?

We are thrilled to open our first site in London (in Greenford). Our sights have been set on launching in the capital for quite some time as we want to be present in an exciting and dynamic QSR scene.

We want to take our brand proposition to the whole market in the UK. We believe everybody deserves the best quality at the most affordable price in the market.
 
How do you identify locations for Little Caesars? What do you look for in a perfect site?

The priority is to identify a location where we recognise a customer demand for our product. We want Little Caesar Pizza’s restaurants to be embedded in the neighbourhoods and become an active part of the community, with easy access for takeaway customers and easy ordering, including digital ordering.

What type of store formats are you looking to grow? Could you share some features in these formats that are unique to Little Caesars?

Little Caesars Pizza restaurants can be found in different formats. We are the only brand in the pizza industry that has drive-through restaurants, as our operational model allows us to serve our guests at high speed. This is a strong point of differentiation vs other pizza competitors.

What trends are you seeing that make these store formats perfect for your current growth trajectory?

Our focus is on offering our guests the best quality product and the best value in modern and functional restaurants. We have several formats available which allow Little Caesars the flexibility to adapt to different location sizes, from smaller functional city centre takeaway units to those having some seats for dine-in, to drive-through restaurants.

Currently how many restaurants does Little Caesars have in the UK and how many are you opening this year?

Little Caesars currently has 3 sites in the UK Nottingham, Derby and Greenford. We are a very ambitious brand, but we can’t definitively confirm how many sites we want to open in the long term as this is very much based on finding the locations and the right franchisees. We are actively searching for additional multi-unit franchisees in all areas of the UK. The profile we are looking for is experienced food operator groups which are looking for an additional brand to leverage their structure and market expertise and have a long-term vision of growing the LC brand together.) Internationally we operate in 28 countries now that we’re continually expanding in.

Could you tell us about the HOT-N-READY model? What is it and how is it different from your competitors?

Our signature Hot-N-Ready® model allows customers to walk in and out in 30 seconds or less with an affordable pizza that is as fresh as it is delicious - it is the quality, value and fresh ingredients that give us that point of difference against our competitors. This allows for really fast service to our guests. We’ve noticed there is a trend where U.K. consumers have an appetite for convenient, quick meals at low prices given the current economic climate as well.

In terms of growth, what are your plans for the next five years?

We have open opportunities for new franchisees to incorporate into the UK growth and are looking for multi-store operators, with a vision to develop at least 20 stores in a 5-6 year term.

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