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Little Caesars returns to PHL

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LITTLE CAESARS used to be a comforting sight in the streets of Manila, until as kids grew up, the branches of the pizza chain closed one by one. Now we can chase a little bit of the past with the reopening of Little Caesars in Ermita.

The disappearance of the chain “had nothing to do with the Philippines, or us not wanting to be here,” said Rebecca Smith, Head of Corporate Communications for Little Caesars Pizza International, over lunch last Saturday. “Our previous franchisee was an entrepreneur, and decided essentially to do other ventures.”

Today the franchise is held here by Palmtree PH Foods Corp., owned by American-born and Singapore-based James Kodrowski. As for the Little Caesars itself, it was founded by members of the Macedonian-American Ilitch family in Detroit back in the late 1950s. Their empire expanded to cover sports and entertainment, and matriarch Marian Ilitch is considered to be one of the world’s richest women.

Now Little Caesars is the world’s third largest pizza chain, boasting a presence in 24 countries with an unofficial store count of about 3,000. “Now, we’re this global company in 24 countries. Ultimately, because we’re privately owned, we can stay true to who we are,” said Ms. Smith.

She promises that “the taste [of the pizza] that you’re tasting in Detroit is going to be the same that you taste here.” But the menu here is a lot smaller with only about four choices: Hula Hawaiian, 3 Meat Treat, Ultimate Supreme, and Veggie. These all cost P370 at 12 inches. The pricing is more or less the same as in the US — one of Little Caesars’ bestselling pizzas are the $5 Pepperoni, which in the Philippines would cost P250. “We’re always trying to be the smarter choice, compared to other pizza brands,” said Ms. Smith.

To celebrate its opening, Little Caesars is giving away free pizzas. To join the #PizzaPizzaGiving promo, visit the store between Jan. 27 and Feb. 1, 2-3 p.m., and fill out a gift certificate to give to a loved one. The sender will receive a free single-serve pepperoni pizza at the time of their visit. The recipient can present the GC to claim their free 12” pepperoni pizza on or before April 6, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Little Caesars. — JLG