Pizza, Pizza! — anyone? Little Caesar’s eyes Lake Region area

By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

Little Caesar’s, the largest carry out pizza chain in the world, is actively seeking expansion into smaller markets, and it has its eyes on Bridgton.

Dan Ducharme, director of franchise development for Little Caesars, contacted The News this week through his public relations firm to announce the company’s strategic franchise growth initiative.

“We’re looking for a loyal entrepreneur who has a passion for the pizza business,” Ducharme said. Bridgton is one of around a dozen Maine towns and cities the company is targeting as an available market for a new Little Caesar’s franchise. The company, the third largest pizza chain in the United States, operates nine stores in Maine, with the closest locations in Windham and Auburn.

“We’re in all 50 states, and now we’re really trying some of the smaller markets” in a push that began around a year ago, he said.

Ducharme said the company’s trademark “Hot-N-Ready” pizza, offered through its strictly carryout stores, has led to its rapid growth in meeting customer demand. “Most pizza is consumed in the home,” he said. Consumers love the convenience of a grab-and-go pizza that is of a restaurant quality and offered at a reasonable price — $5 for a 14-inch pizza with one topping, he said.

Ducharme said he’d love to talk to someone interesting in developing a store of ideally 1,400-square-feet, with drive-through capacity, on the Portland Road in Bridgton, where the demographics and traffic counts justify franchise development. Extensive training is provided, and “There are tremendous opportunities for franchisees looking for more financial independence.”

The investment per franchise location ranges form around $265,000 to $681,500 for a standard Little Caesars carryout location. Higher-end stores are typically freestanding, while lower-end stores are part of a strip center, he said.

To qualify, prospective franchisees should have a minimum of $100,000 in liquid assets and a net worth of $250,000.

“We’ll coach them through the entire process,” he said. While most of Little Caesars franchises are multi-store operations, Ducharme said the company welcomes single owner-operators.

“It all really does start with one location,” he said.

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