Like it or hate it, the Little Caesars $5 Hot-N-Ready pizza has controlled the cheap pizza market for years.  Even if you don’t like the taste, the fact is that because there’s a pizza for $5 available, it’s likely kept the cost down across the board, meaning virtually all pizza has been made cheaper because of the low price of the Hot-N-Ready.  Watch movies from the 1980’s and you’ll see that paying $15 per pizza was pretty common.  Even premium pizza, after over 20 years, likely tops out or comes in below that price these days, and you have to figure this comes back in many ways to the introduction of the Hot-N-Ready $5 pizza.

mb-201201pizzaMy wife and I were watching TV the other day, and a commercial for Little Caesars came on, and like basically every commercial that they are does, it touted the $5 pizza.  Only my wife noticed something.  Under the $5 price it said:

LIMITED TIME OFFER ?

Uh-oh.  Since they’ve been offering this pizza at the low price for well over ten years, I think,, this seemed a little ominous.

Last night, we had some errands to run, so we decided to stop and grab one for dinner.  Their menu board had a big graphic with the $5 price, but also had the same ‘limited time only’ notation underneath.  So, I asked the cashier if the price was going up.

I think she wanted to dodge the question, but she finally answered that, yes, the price will be increasing soon.  She said that it will likely be going to $5.55 per pizza.  This is a price I’ve seen at many locations outside of the Metro Detroit area, where I’m assuming delivery charges and such are higher.  My totally wild guess is that those locations will move to a $5.99 price, so that all stores still stay in the $5-something range.

So, the proposed standard $5.55 price represents an 11% increase.  You’ve seen me complain many times about price increases on this blog, so you probably think this one bother me. But, the truth is that it really doesn’t.

Little Caesars has kept the $5 price for much longer than I ever thought possible when I first heard about it.  I often thought that, while the $5 price was a brilliant marketing move, it kept them backed into a wall because customers came to expect it.  Truth be told, they probably would have liked to have raised the price much sooner, but wanted to let go of the $5 pizza that they were associated with for as  long as possible.

Could that time be at hand soon?

If Not Pizza, Then Everything Else

But, that’s not all.  I noticed that they’ve already raised prices on other items.  Specifically their ‘Crazy Bread’.  Every once in a while we would add an order of crazy bread to our pizza order.  At $1.99 along with a $5 pizza, it still totaled up to $7.41 (including 6% sales tax), which wasn’t a bad price for a meal for all of us (plus a leftover lunch to take to work for me).

The price yesterday on the Crazy Bread: $2.98.  That’s a 50% price increase! On bread, butter, and cheese.  The 11% increase on pizza is no bother to me, but the 50% increase on crazy bread is crazy.  I thought $2.29 – $2.49 would have been more reasonable.  I know I’m quibbling over a buck, but it’s more the percentage increase that I can’t get past (and, no, we didn’t get the Crazy Bread yesterday).

So, if this information was correct, it looks like the price of pizza (and sides) will be nudging up this year (I would guess that other pizza places will follow suit).  Enjoy the $5 pizza while it lasts.  It’s been a great run!