Little Caesars, one of the nation’s largest carry-out pizza chains, has plans to expand in Greater Youngstown by seeking more franchisees in what it has determined to be a growing and lucrative market.
The move comes after years of sustained growth at the franchise, which already operates three locations in the Mahoning Valley with restaurants in Youngstown, Austintown and Boardman. Last month, the company announced it would expand its footprint across the country by focusing on a strategy that targets growing suburban and rural communities.
“The company’s franchise expansion in Youngstown and the surrounding area comes as the brand continues to consistently achieve its objectives,” said Bob Mazziotti, vice president of franchise development for Detroit-based Little Caesars, in an email.
“We think there is a unique opportunity for local residents to become part of the Little Caesars family and invest in a brand that has tremendous recognition around the world,” he added.
Though Mazziotti could not offer more specifics on how many more Little Caesars might set up shop in the Valley, he said the company is targeting potential franchisees throughout the area at in-person franchise shows, seminars, on its website and through other marketing vehicles.
For now, the company will focus on establishing more locations in strip malls. Its new strategy also calls for new, nontraditional venues such as those located in convenience stores and on college campuses and military bases.
The announcement comes as other franchises are rumored to have an interest in the area, such as cafe-and-bake-shop Tim Hortons. Panera Bread also is expanding in the Valley, and Toledo-based Marco’s Pizza entered into a partnership recently with Family Videos throughout the region.
Little Caesars’ brand has grown with the advent of its Hot-N-Ready pizzas, which are ready-made and available for quick pickup at a price of $5 each. Its Crazy Bread breadsticks have been a popular staple as well.
The company requires franchisee candidates to have a net worth of $150,000 with a minimum of $50,000 in liquid assets. According to the company’s website, typical start-up costs range anywhere from $194,250 to $622,500 for a standard Little Caesars carry-out location.
Little Caesars provides financing, training and real-estate services to its franchisees. Its growth strategy in Youngstown will focus on the city’s suburbs.