Fans of Little Caesars will soon have another option for feeding their cravings for the chain’s Hot-N-Ready pizza and crazy bread.
Jeff Horner, who made the franchise’s debut in the province when he opened on White Rose Drive in east end St. John’s last June, is set to launch his second location in Southlands this summer.
“Sales have been really strong and feedback has been great locally,” says Horner, noting many customers started asking when a location would be coming to the city’s west end. “I think people have really adopted the Hot-N-Ready concept, where they can walk in and walk out quickly.”
Horner settled on a vacant retail space inside the North Atlantic gas bar building at the corner of Southlands Boulevard and Great Southern Drive. Like the White Rose restaurant, it is located near a well-established commercial district and several established residential areas.
What’s more, it’s on the doorstep of Galway, where there will be several years of residential, commercial and industrial construction.
“We find, especially construction and contractor field, we derive a lot our lunch crowd from that,” says Horner. “That provides a lot of business for us, especially during the summer months.”
The new store will be slightly larger than the first, allowing for more space in the front and back of the house.
“Still no seating because it’s all takeout, but I think it’ll be a more inviting area for people to come in,” he explains.
“And there’ll be more space in the back. We found, with the volume that we do at the White Rose store, we could really use some more space for storage and that type thing.”
When it opens, Horner’s Southlands store will be the third Little Caesars in the province. Corner Brook’s Catherine Pelley and Stephen Targett are set to open the second in mid-May.
Horner expects the first couple of months at the new store to go a little smoother than it did in the east end. For both he and the staff.
“There were days where I was there from 8:30 in the morning until 2:30 in the morning for a few weeks straight. That can burn you out fairly quickly,” he says
“But once I had the right people in place to help out with things, it made it a lot easier, and getting a good manager in place was key as well.”
Having experienced staff being able to ease new staff into the day-to-day operations will “make a lot of customers’ first experience with us much better than we did with the first one,” he says.
Horner says if things continue to go well, the next destination is likely Paradise, and eventually he’d like to explore the possibility of a drive-thru.
“There’s not a tonne of them out there, but they started to go towards that because our offer is, in the pizza industry, one of the only ones that would be able to accommodate a drive-thru,” he says.
“I think that would completely separate us from the rest of the pizza competition out there.”