Get ready for a lot more pizza pizza.
Pizza chain Little Caesars announced Friday that it wants to open 30 more Tampa Bay shops by 2024, part of an aggressive expansion into Florida.
The announcement comes a month after the Detroit-based chain signed on to become the official pizza sponsor of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Raymond James Stadium, meaning fans will see a lot more Little Caesars signage there when play resumes this fall.
Little Caesars already has more than 30 outposts in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties alone, with many more in other pockets in outlying areas. But Tampa Bay is still being targeted as a market for serious growth in Florida, according to a company announcement, alongside Orlando, Jacksonville, Gainesville, Naples and Lake City.
“Bringing more franchise ownership opportunities to the Tampa Bay area has been a goal of ours for some time,” Craig Sherwood, the company’s vice president of U.S. development, said in a statement. “Now that we’re the official pizza of the winning home team and Raymond James Stadium, we can’t imagine a better time to double down on our commitment to bringing our proven pizza business model to aspiring entrepreneurs in this area.”
Like other pizza chains, Little Caesars has in some ways grown during the coronavirus pandemic. The company launched a new delivery service in early 2020, and its contact-free “Pizza Portal” pickup stations proved a popular option for touch-free carryout. A study last summer by a marketing coalition called Top Data found that Little Caesars served the most popular pizza in nearly half the states in the country, including Florida. Almost every local Little Caesars store is hiring.
The privately held Little Caesars is the third-largest pizza chain in the world, with most stores operating as franchises. A typical franchise investment starts at around $360,000. The company said it’s looking for both single- and multiple-store franchisees in Tampa Bay. Those looking for information can find it at Franchise.LittleCaesars.com.