How It All Began
Mike and Marian Ilitch opened their first Little Caesars restaurant in Garden City, Michigan more than 50 years ago.
Mike Ilitch had been on another career path as a talented shortstop with the Detroit Tigers farm team. While his teammates were looking for the local ballpark, Mike was eyeing the local pizza joint. Pizza was clearly in his blood. An injury prompted Mike to trade in his baseball glove for hot pads.
It was an exciting time for Mike and Marian Ilitch as they worked together toward that grand opening day of May 8, 1959.
Innovation has given Little Caesars its unique place in the pizza industry, even from day one. When they opened their doors in 1959, people thought a carry out restaurant without tables and chairs would fail, but Mike and Marian’s innovative idea paid off.
Little Caesars has a history of industry firsts: Mike pioneered the two-for-one pizza deal later known as Pizza!Pizza!®, and then created a conveyor oven specially designed to bake pizza quickly and consistently to keep up with customer demand. The chain built stores where pizza was never served before, such as in sports arenas, college dormitories, and military bases.Little Caesars introduced Crazy Bread®, which became a standard accompaniment to pizza and was mimicked by other pizza chains. Little Caesars also broke the status quo by making pizzas ready when customers walk in, with no need to call ahead or wait in line, with the launch of its HOT-N-READY pizza offer.