Q&A with Little Caesars International Franchisee Leo Gonzalez
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Q&A with Little Caesars International Franchisee Leo Gonzalez

Q&A with Little Caesars International Franchisee Leo Gonzalez

Name: Leo Gonzalez

Title: Franchise Owner

Brands: Little Caesars

Units: 25

Countries: United States, Mexico

Years in franchising: 23

Why did you decide to open an international franchise location?

My history with the franchise started many years ago. At 17, I started working at a Little Caesars in California and eventually grew through the ranks to open my first franchise in 2001. Through the years, I’ve learned the ins and outs of what it takes to operate a successful restaurant. When I had the opportunity to expand my business portfolio by opening Little Caesars in my native country of Mexico, it was a great feeling.

I also recognized that Little Caesars in the U.S. resonated very well with the Hispanic community. Our fast, convenient, and high-quality Hot-N-Ready pizzas, as well as other menu offerings, are a popular choice. It made perfect sense for me to look to Mexico to grow my business.

Do you have any personal connections in the country in which you operate a franchise?

I was born in Mexico and the country is really dear and near to my heart.

What are the biggest differences of operating a franchise outside of the United States?

Laws, taxes, and payroll are different in Mexico than in the United States. You need to have a team that can help you understand those differences and ensure that you’re doing everything by the book to set your franchise and staff up for success from day one. It’s not that it’s necessarily harder to franchise outside the U.S., but it is just different.

Was the process of acquiring a franchise in another country more difficult than in the United States? 

No, it wasn’t more difficult to build a franchise in Mexico. It’s actually easier to find the space to build out new franchise locations and also more cost effective. Mexico has a lot more space to franchise with restaurants that are bigger in size. About 65% of our Little Caesars there are free-standing with drive-thrus. These tend to do well with our guests and provide the convenient dining experience the brand is known for at all hours of the day.

What type of support did you receive from your franchisor in establishing your franchise in a different country?

Little Caesars has a well-established and structured process to help franchisees not only open franchises in the U.S. but also internationally. As we started our discussions about expanding Little Caesars into Mexico, we were partnered with a local franchise business consultant that was there every step of the way. They still visit our locations two to three times a year, reviewing our plans, guiding us on site selection, and more. Little Caesars support team also helped us create a comprehensive marketing strategy that set us up for successful grand openings, as well as continued marketing to ensure we’re staying top-of-mind with guests in the area. Little Caesars is just a phone call away to help.

Are language barriers a challenge in owning an international franchise? If so, in what way?

It’s not a challenge for me because I am bilingual so I am able to effectively and regularly communicate with all my teams in the U.S. and in Mexico. For the most part, my staff is also bilingual.

How do cultural differences in other countries affect franchise operations?

Despite having teams in two different countries, we don’t have too much of a difference in the culture we’ve built or how we operate the franchises. We’ve created a team environment that encourages growth in the business, giving each team member ownership for their responsibilities. We’re honest and treat each other like we’re a family working with the same core values and goal to succeed together in mind.

Do you have plans to expand into other countries?

We’re growing and excited about the upcoming opportunities to expand our portfolio with Little Caesars both in the U.S. and other countries. Currently, we’re discussing the opportunities available for us to open locations in Puerto Rico. Our team has already scoped parts of the island where we could grow. Puerto Rico would also benefit from the larger and attractive prototypes with drive-thrus with which we’ve succeeded with in Mexico.

Published: June 26th, 2024

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