Super Bowl Sunday is typically the busiest day of the year for the nation's pizza parlors and delivery outlets. Some stores sell as many as 200 pizzas an hour during the big game, more than double the volume of a typical Sunday. To meet the demand, many pizza joints require all personnel to work on Super Bowl Sunday, offering extra pay and other incentives to get workers to show up.
Sometime before kick-off Sunday, I'll probably pick up the phone and order a pie. But instead of calling the usual place, I think I'll get my Super Bowl pizza from Little Caesars. That's because the Detroit-based chain and its owner, Mike Ilitch, have launched a program to help veterans--particularly disabled veterans--find new careers as franchisees for the company. While all qualified veterans receive discounts on the franchise fee and initial equipment order, disabled veterans are eligible for other benefits, including a waived franchise fee ($20,000), a $10,000 credit on their initial equipment, and start-up marketing support. The total benefit for sevice-disabled veterans can total $68,000.
Former Army Staff Sergeant Robbie Doughty lost both of his legs to a roadside bomb in Iraq. Yesterday, he opened a Little Caesar's store in his hometown of Paducah, Kentucky. In some respects, Sergeant Doughty is responsible for the company's veterans program. Mike Ilitch read a profile of Doughty in USA Today in 2004, and was so moved by the soldier's courage and determination that he called Doughty to thank him for his service to our nation. That sparked a series of conversations that eventually led to the Veteran's Program, and Thursday's grand opening in Paducah.
If your neighborhood's like mine, there are probably five or six pizza joints within 10 miles of your home. No shortage of options for the Super Bowl pizza. But if you decide to buy a pie on Sunday, think about giving the business to your local Little Caesars store, and support a company that is truly supporting our troops.
More on the program--and Sergeant Doughty--from this recent Mitch Albom column in the Detroit Free Press.