New US competitor enters Australian pizza restaurant market

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 1st October 2014
Little Caesars Pepperoni Pizza
Little Caesars Pepperoni Pizza

Popular US-based pizza restaurant business Little Caesars is set to enter the Australian pizza market, opening its first store in the south-west Sydney suburb Casula on Thursday 2 October 2014.

Little Caesars Pizza founders Michael and Marian Ilitch opened their first restaurant in Garden City, Michigan in 1959.  Today, Little Caesars is one of the top international pizza chains, operating restaurants on five continents. Ernest Koury will be responsible for bringing the brand to Australia. His family has been a part of the Little Caesars chain since the late 1970s.

Customers at Little Caesars restaurants are able to select, order and take away ‘Hot-n-Ready’ pizzas on the spot, removing the need to pre-order over the phone or online. Little Caesars said its operating model will “revolutionise” the Australian pizza market.

“We are the largest carry-out only pizza place in the world and no other pizza chain in Australia is currently offering the takeaway, ready-when-you-are service that Little Caesars is famous for globally,” said Ernest Koury, Little Caesars Director

By bringing Little Caesars to Australia, Mr Koury said he aimed to “break the mold of paying too much for pizzas, and reduce waiting times with a speedy service that ensures customers get their order within 30 seconds of walking in the door”.

“We are confident that we are setting a new standard of price, value, quality and service in the Australian market with our first outlet in Casula,” Mr Koury said. “Our pricing at Little Caesars is not based on limited time offers, coupons or specials, they are our everyday low prices,” he said.

Little Caesars promotes its restaurants offer a family size pizza measuring 14 inches, which the Company said is “62 per cent larger than the 11-inch pizza most commonly sold by other major pizza chains in Australia”. Prices start at $7.95 per pizza.

Little Caesars said it uses a blend of mozzarella and Muenster cheeses, and that its dough is “made daily in-store”.

Casula store will include drive-thru

The Casula outlet will also house a drive-thru for customers to pick up their HOT-N-READY Pizzas and sides. The service will allow customers to view menu items on an animated LED screen, and make their payment via the PayPal app.

Little Caesars said the new outlet in Casula will employ between 50 and 60 locals, and that the restaurant is “just the start” of expansion plans. Committed to building the Little Caesars brand in Australia, Mr Koury said he aimed to open 3 to 5 stores in the next 12 months, and will also be looking to develop products unique to the Australian market.

The first Little Caesars outlet in Australia is set to open on Thursday 2 October and is located at the corner of Graham Avenue and the Hume Highway in Casula.

Australian pizza restaurant market

Little Caesars joins a well-established quick service pizza restaurant market in Australia. The two major players in the Australian market are US-based brand Pizza Hut, which is owned by restaurant company Yum! Brands Inc, and Domino’s Pizza Enterprises Ltd.

Yum! Brands, Inc., based in Louisville, Kentucky, is one of the world’s largest restaurant companies with over 40,000 restaurants in more than 125 countries and territories. Yum! Brands reported revenues of more than $13 billion and in 2014. Its restaurant brands include KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.

The Pizza Hut brand was founded in 1958 by Frank and Dan Carney, and began franchising in 1959. Today, Pizza Hut is the largest pizza chain in the world with more than 12,000 Pizza Hut Restaurants and Delivery Units operating worldwide. Approximately 270 stores are located in Australia.

Domino’s Pizza Enterprises Ltd (Domino’s Pizza) is the largest pizza chain in Australia in terms of both network store numbers and network sales. It is also the largest franchisee in the world for the US-based Domino’s Pizza brand.

Domino’s Pizza holds the exclusive master franchise rights for the Domino’s brand and network in Australia, New Zealand, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, the Principality of Monaco and Japan. Domino’s Pizza Enterprises now extend across six countries, with more than 1300 stores, employing approximately 26,000 and is the leading international Domino’s franchisee.

Australian Food News reported in August 2014 that pizza restaurant chain Domino’s had announced an Underlying Net Profit After Tax of $45.8m, an increase of 50.4 per cent on the previous year, with the Company’s expansion in Japan proving profitable.

Domino’s said it had added a record number of new stores across the Group including 44 new stores in Australia and New Zealand, 27 to the European network and 61 new stores added in the full financial year for Japan.