June 29, 2010 // Franchising.com // DETROIT – From its beginnings more than 50 years ago, Little Caesars Pizza has provided the opportunity for generations of families to live the American Dream as independent business owners. Matt Kauffman, a multi-unit franchise owner in London, Ky., has found the opportunity to partner with other family members in their Little Caesars business a rewarding professional experience. "Our professional skills complement each other well, and 23 years later, I can honestly say it was the best idea we have ever had. There is no doubt that I too will pass along the same opportunity to my children," he said.
In 1978, his father, Robert, owned a construction company that was building hundreds of new Little Caesars locations throughout Kentucky. Matt was in high school at the time, helping occasionally with his father's construction business. When Matt turned 20, together they decided to open a location.
"With my father's construction knowledge and my ability to handle internal operations, we couldn't pass up the opportunity to become entrepreneurs with such a well-known brand," said Matt Kauffman.
Today, the Kauffmans have built the business to include seven Little Caesars locations. Robert, who is still actively involved in the business partnership, is proud to partner with his son.
"Working with family members can give you a great sense of security, knowing that you can rely on them when needed and they have your best interests at heart," he said. "Whether they are helping staff grow professionally or balancing the books, you can trust them to get the job done."
Little Caesars' family-oriented business opportunity led Scott Stewart to invest in the brand in 1986. More than two decades later, he owns eight Little Caesars Pizza franchise locations in North Florida and works closely with three family members to run the business.
"When I invested in my first Little Caesars location, my wife and I we were preparing to start a family. We were looking for a business investment opportunity that I could grow and pass on to our future children," said Stewart, whose wife and two sons, Chad and Mike, and son-in-law, Jerid Cady, are active in the business today.
"After learning about Little Caesars' business model, I realized it was a perfect chance to be part of a company that supports family involvement."
Throughout the years, all six of Scott's children helped in different aspects of operations from making pizzas to customer service.
"I became involved with my dad's business six years ago and learned skills that will continue to benefit me well into my professional career," said Chad Stewart. "It's nice to work with family members because it provides flexibility and assurance that everyone is in it to succeed."
Standish, Mich., franchisee Bill Strohkirch can attest to the benefits of having family members involved in the business. He sees it as an activity they can all be involved in and learn from each other's experiences.
Having worked in the grocery industry for 30 years, Bill became a Little Caesars franchisee in his "semi-retirement" years and saw it as an opportunity to share a quality experience with his son, William, who has a degree in Information Technology and daughter-in-law, Carrie, who has a degree in sociology.
"Between the three of us, we have a diverse skill set, allowing us to focus on different areas of the business," Bill said.
Today, he owns six Little Caesars Pizza restaurants in mid-Michigan. William oversees the operation of the stores and Carrie manages the marketing
"While we're building a business that can be passed on to future generations, we're also creating memories," Bill said. "I'm having a blast and it's even better that my family is enjoying every minute of it with me."
David Scrivano, president of Little Caesar Enterprises Inc. strongly encourages family involvement within store operations. "The Little Caesars business model has been a family-friendly operation since day one, where everyone can share roles and take part in the business. It is a perfect franchise opportunity to build strong family traditions."
Little Caesars Pizza founders Michael and Marian Ilitch opened their first restaurant in Garden City, Michigan, in 1959. Little Caesars, the fastest growing pizza chain, built more stores in the world in 2009 than any other pizza brand and today is the largest carry-out chain globally with restaurants on five continents. Little Caesars is growing in prime markets across the country, and is offering strong franchisee candidates an opportunity for independence with a proven system. For the third year in a row, Little Caesars was named "Best Value in America"* of all quick-serve restaurant chains. In addition, Little Caesars offers strong brand awareness with one of the most recognized and appealing characters in the country, Little Caesar.
In addition to Little Caesars Pizza, Michael and Marian Ilitch's companies in the food, sports and entertainment industries include: the Detroit Red Wings, Olympia Entertainment, Olympia Development, Blue Line Foodservice Distribution, Champion Foods, Ilitch Holdings, Inc., Uptown Entertainment, Little Caesars Pizza Kit Fundraising Program, and a variety of venues within these entities. Michael Ilitch owns the Detroit Tigers. Marian Ilitch owns MotorCity Casino Hotel.
*"Highest-Rated Chain – Value for the Money" based on a nationwide survey of quick-service restaurant consumers conducted by Sandelman & Associates, 2009