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Is Little Caesars Gearing Up for a Detroit-Style Pizza War?

Little Caesars is taking the battle over Detroit-style supremacy to Pizza Hut's headquarters in Plano, Texas, with a new campaign.

  • In a press release touting its new Detroit-style pizza campaign running nationwide, Little Caesars hints at a “pizza war” to come.
  • A more local campaign targets Plano, Texas, hometown of Pizza Hut, which launched its Detroit-style pizza nearly two years ago.

As Detroit-style pizza spreads nationwide, Little Caesars wants to remind fans of the style that it’s the only national pizza chain headquartered in the Motor City.

“Little Caesars knows a thing or two about the pizza style that made the city’s food scene famous,” the company said in a recent press release. Even the press release’s headline hints, albeit with tongue planted firmly in cheek, of a raging battle to come: “Detroit-Style Pizza Wars Heat Up as Little Caesars Challenges Competition.”

The release touts a new national Detroit-style pizza campaign from Little Caesars. The campaign features “an actual lawyer” speaking directly to the camera. The lawyer encourages anyone who bought a Detroit-style pizza from anywhere other than Little Caesars to seek compensation immediately. They can call 1-800-428-DEEP or visit detroitstylecompensation.com to “report their issue.” Then, they’re directed to a dedicated website where they can upload pizza receipts from other pizza chains where they ordered a Detroit-style deep-dish pie. For their trouble, they’ll receive a special offer from Little Caesars—a pepperoni or cheese Detroit-style pizza for $5.99 with a $3 off promo code.

“With that,” the company said, “fans will get the help they need to correct their path to Detroit-Style Deep Dish that’s actually from Detroit.”

Related: What are the elements of an authentic Detroit-style pizza?

In early 2021, Pizza Hut launched its own version of Detroit-style pizza, hyping the style as “the fastest-growing trend in pizza.” Little Caesars obviously took notice and has targeted Plano, Texas, where Pizza Hut’s headquarters is located, for a more local campaign. It features the same lawyer urging pizza fans to seek compensation for any Detroit-style “injustice” they may have suffered.

Little Caesars did beat Pizza Hut to the Detroit-style punch, launching its version of the pie in 2013 and creating a national campaign promoting the new menu item in November 2022. But Buddy’s Pizza, also headquartered in Detroit, is where the style began, more than 75 years ago. Detroit-style pizza was invented by Buddy’s founder Gus Guerra and his friend and employee, Concietta “Connie” Piccinato.

“Detroit-style pizza is more than a trend,” Buddy’s CEO Burton Heiss has said.

In March 2021, Buddy’s took a good-natured swipe at Pizza Hut’s Detroit-style entry, calling it a “knockoff.” At the time, Wes Pikula, Buddy’s chief brand officer, joked, “We laughed when Pizza Hut claimed, ‘No one out-pizzas the Hut,’ but when you try to ‘out-Detroit’ Buddy’s, that gets the Motor City rumbling.”