Founder Michael Ilitch Encourages Other Corporate Leaders to Provide Business Opportunities to Veterans

DETROIT, Nov. 12 /PRNewswire/ — Veterans Day marks the one-year anniversary of the Little Caesars Veterans Program, which has enabled nearly two dozen veterans to transition to new careers as Little Caesars franchisees in the past 12 months. “It has been a terrific year for Little Caesars in several areas and one of our very exciting achievements has been the success of the Little Caesars Veterans Program,” said David Scrivano, president, Little Caesar Enterprises, Inc.

The Little Caesars Veterans Program provides business opportunities to veterans as they transition to civilian life or seek a career change. It offers honorably discharged service-disabled veterans who qualify as Little Caesars franchisees a benefit of up to $68,000. Honorably discharged non- service-disabled veterans who qualify as Little Caesars franchisees are eligible for a benefit of $10,000. Currently, more than 1,350 inquires have been made about the program.

“Little Caesars feels that it’s important to recognize the contributions veterans and their families make to our country, and thank them for their service,” said Scrivano. “Veterans can bring many capabilities to our business, and we feel that their skills are a good fit for our operating model.”

Inspiration Creates a Unique Program

Little Caesars founder and Marine, Michael Ilitch, read about Army Staff Sergeant Robbie Doughty, who lost his legs while serving in Iraq, and was impressed with his attitude and strength of character. After getting to know Doughty, Ilitch felt that he could be an entrepreneur. Wanting to show his appreciation, Ilitch gave Doughty a Little Caesars store, which he runs in his home town of Paducah, KY with his business partner and veteran Lloyd Allard. Ilitch was inspired by Doughty’s story to do more, and asked the Little Caesars management team to develop a program that would provide business opportunities to more veterans. The result is the Little Caesars Veterans Program.

Program Growth and Recognition

On April 30, 2007, Little Caesars held its first veterans program training class that included six U.S. military veterans who had been awarded franchise opportunities in GA, IN, MI, NY and OH. In addition to speaking with Michael Ilitch, the inaugural veterans training class provided the new franchisees with an overview of the required six week training program in which all Little Caesars franchisees participate, as well as specific instruction on the Little Caesars operating system in the store environment, real estate and site selection.

Vietnam era veteran Martin Lorenz became the first Little Caesars franchisee to open his doors for business under the Little Caesars Veterans Program in Fort Myers, FL on July 31, 2007. “I’m proud to be a franchisee with a company that recognizes the contributions veterans have made to our country,” said Lorenz. “Little Caesars has given me, and other veterans with varying degrees of business experience, the chance to utilize our skills learned in the military, and apply them to a franchise opportunity that provides thorough training, as well as ongoing support.”

Air Force Tech Sergeant Robert Flores celebrated the grand opening of his first store in Carmel, IN on October 31, 2007. This is the second store to open under the Little Caesars Veterans Program.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs recognized Ilitch for the dedication and great patriotism he demonstrated through the Little Caesars Veterans Program. On September 17, 2007, the Honorable R. James Nicholson, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, presented Ilitch with the Secretary’s Award, the highest tribute given to a private citizen by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, in Washington, DC.

Program Influence

“In addition to providing business opportunities for veterans, Mr. Ilitch also wants the Little Caesars Veterans Program to demonstrate to other business leaders that they, too, can create programs within their organizations to make a difference for veterans,” said Scrivano.

For example, the Little Caesars Veterans Program has inspired Virginia- based Zero’s Subs to create a similar program to help veterans become business owners.

“Zero’s Subs has designed a program under the Veterans Transition Franchise Initiative (VetFran, part of the International Franchise Association), in cooperation with the Veterans Administration, for potential franchisees to further the aspirations and dreams of veterans who are interested in owning their own business in the free enterprise system they have served to defend. The Little Caesars Veterans Program established by Michael Ilitch was a model from which we built our current Zero’s VetFran Program,” said Elizabeth Fitzpatrick, director of operations, Zero’s Subs.

Future Milestones

In the coming months, several more veterans will open franchise locations under the unique program. They include Air Force Captain Rick Loz, opening in PA; Navy Petty Officer Patricia Evans, opening in GA; Air Reserves Staff Sergeant Robert Jones, opening in GA; and Army Specialist Michael Slater, opening in OH. In addition, Robbie Doughty and Lloyd Allard will open their second store in TN in the next few months.

The Center for Veterans Enterprise (part of the Department of Veterans Affairs), Marine For Life (an organization that helps Marines and Sailors transition to civilian life), and the International Franchise Association (through its VetFran program) are points of contact for the Little Caesars Veterans Program. They can provide information about the requirements and qualifications of becoming a Little Caesars franchisee.

About Little Caesars

Little Caesars Pizza founders Michael and Marian Ilitch opened their first restaurant in Garden City, Michigan in 1959. Today, Little Caesars is the largest carry-out pizza chain in the world 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. In addition, Little Caesars offers strong brand awareness with one of the most recognized characters in the country, Little Caesar, that appeals to both adults and children.

Little Caesars is an Ilitch-owned company along with, the Detroit Red Wings, Detroit Tigers, Olympia Entertainment, Olympia Development, Blue Line Foodservice Distribution, Champion Foods, Uptown Entertainment, Little Caesars Pizza Kit Fundraising Program, and a variety of venues within these entities.

For more information about prime franchising opportunities with Little Caesars or the Little Caesars Veterans Program, visit

Source: Little Caesars

CONTACT: Kathryn Oldham for Little Caesars +1-248-885-1194

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