The pizza chain Little Caesars is bumping the price of its famous Hot-N-Ready pizza above $5 for the first time in a quarter-century, according to reports.
The price of the promotional pie, which was first introduced in 1997 through advertising shaker boards, is increasing by 11% to cost $5.55. Up from its longstanding $5 price point, the new and improved version of the Hot-N-Ready pizza will now also come with 33% more pepperoni, Forbes reported.
Little Caesars CEO Dave Scrivano said the increased price is meant to balance rising labor and commodities costs, as the price of pepperoni has soared by more than 50% over the pandemic.
"Our franchisees were highly accepting of this proposition. They want to treat their customers like gold and make sure they get the best product possible and they love the idea of more pepperoni," he told Fortune. "We think we’ve got something good here with delivery and our Pizza Portal and our Hot-N-Ready pizza. We’ve got a good structure to really drive overall growth."
The chain saw a record year in sales in 2021, due in part to the fact Little Caesars instituted changes in 2019, before the onset of the pandemic, that allowed a contactless experience for customers early on.
A Little Caesars restaurant is seen in Bloomsburg.
Customers can scan a QR code to pick up their pies through the chain’s Pizza Portal. In January 2020, the chain also launched delivery for the first time, just before the pandemic struck.
Scrivano said Little Caesars has been able to skirt some supply chain pressures because it owns Blue Line Foodservice. The company also has sought to mitigate labor shortage and retention issues seen at other brands by increasing wages across the board and offering flexible schedules and growth opportunities.
Little Caesars' addition of more pepperoni also comes as it seeks to stay competitive as delivery and contactless delivery grows across the food industry.
It’s pushing its marketing strategy through TikTok and sponsoring the upcoming movie "The Batman." The chain is also rolling out a new cloud-based point-of-sale system and new menu offerings and is targeting certain markets in 2022, including the Northeast, parts of Texas, the Southwest, Russia, the UK, Latin America and Canada, Scrivano said.