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86. Little Caesar's

Classification: Franchise

Like many, the most challenging fiscal time of my life occurred in my early 20s as a bright-eyed newlywed just launching a career and trying to figure out life while practicing financial prudency. I once asked my HR generalist if I could just take the value of my company-provided health insurance as a lump-sum cash payment, but in a very professional manner, they declined. I would call it living paycheck-to-paycheck, but there were definitely times when it was more like paycheck-to-almost-paycheck. My wife recalls once counting out loose change to buy a can of soup; another time we took our leftover wedding cake out of the freezer and turned it into supper because payday wasn’t until Friday. Mind you, we had a decent apartment and a late-model Chevrolet so we weren’t in dire straits; rather, let’s just say that it was a time of adjusting to conventional methods of adulthood. One of the happy accidents of our suburban hobo-lifestyle was stumbling on a new franchise in town that offered TWO pizzas for the price of one. There was no other way to categorize this discovery except “win/win”:

1. It was an attainable economically sound solution to a pervasive and existing problem

2. I was able to enjoy pizza at home for two or three consecutive nights

3. Compared to Lipton soup and wedding cake, it was four-star dining

On many nights, with the pizza sleeve gracefully laid across the back seat, I’d return home to triumphantly enjoy the fruits of my labor. Little Caesar’s has expanded the menu quite a bit over the years, and I’ve yet to try most of their new offerings, but I wouldn’t mind giving it another go. It compares favorably in every way to its poorer cousin, $5 Pizza (see #95). Caesar did me a solid back in the 80s, and I haven’t forgotten. Pizza! Pizza! (6 of 10 stars)

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