Dialogue with the experienced Brett Larrabee

One of the most popular pizza chains in the world that was started over six decades ago. Little Caesars has been the favourite of the masses for long. In this dialogue with the experienced Brett Larrabee – Director International Development, we learn about what makes the brand so commendable over the years among the franchise community.

1. How did you enter in the franchise business?

I entered the franchise business 34 yrs ago as Subway franchisee. At that time Subway was a young company and there was not much brand recognition. And I learned from the foundation, how to build a franchise business and how to be a successful franchisee. In addition, I also learned how be a functional part of a brand that is emerging and growing into something big.

2. Where and how did the idea of your concept come from?

61 yrs ago the idea came from Mr and Mrs Illich who were the founders. They were looking to build a business to support their family and their children. It came at a time when pizza was a specialty product. They saw the opportunity to build a pizza restaurant when very few existed. It was a simple idea to be part of food segment that had opportunity for growth. It was one of the first few pizza restaurants in Detroit, Michigan.

3. What inspired the brand name?

It was a character that was born out of the Illich family history, that was a descriptive endearment.

4. What is the story behind the brand’s logo?

The brand logo was initially drawn at the back of a cocktail napkin. The founders liked the idea and so they adopted it. Over the years, the branding has evolved more relevant and modernized. However, it has always been the same basic fun loving character, the little Caesar man.

5. What makes your brand different from your competitors?

Firstly, its the high quality product that is made fresh in the store everyday. We also have a strong value proposition. Second, you can feed a family of three for an equivalent of USD$5. Third, it is the only pizza chain where you can have your pizza right away. And also last but not the least, the convenience in technology and innovation.

6. What are the essential qualities that you look for in a franchisee?

A franchisee who can understand and execute our business model. Someone who has the capitalization to scale our business model in their given territory or country. They should have a team available to build and operate our brand. And preferably the business experience to work with us.

7. How long does it take, on average, for your franchisee to realize their investment?

It normally takes two to three years.

8. What was the major challenge you faced in your career, and how did you overcome it?

The major challenge has been in understanding the way franchise business models work or do not work. And the learning is to ensure that we have a business system that keeps the franchisee in a profitable consistent track of success.

8.1. What is your best achievement?

My best achievement is being able to develop successful franchise operations all over the world with numerous business partners who are smart and capable and have enriched my life immensely.

9. How does your business day start?

My business day always starts with a strong cup of coffee and a list of things to do. I wake up early and start calling those customers in Middle East, Eastern Europe and Asia. Since that is when the global clock allows me to work with those groups in that time zone.

10. What was your best moment throughout your franchise career?

The best moment is when I get to sell franchises to the sons and daughters of the people that over the decades that I have been in the business and worked with in the past. It is a big badge of recognition that I have since I earned their trust for generations.

11. Where do you see your brand in the next 5 years?

I see our brand growing considerably across the Middle East, Asia and Eastern Europe in the number of new countries. And the reason for that is with the new delivery first mentality, pizza is something that will naturally be part of the growth of the food business. Since it is one of the few products that is easily and effectively delivered. Moreover, it will be a great economic engine for franchisees to pivot to as the delivery first trend becomes more prominent.

12. Any tip for the reader who wants to be in franchisee business?

Find a brand that has a long history of success and is well funded. It should be able to survive the economic chaos and recession.

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