At first glance, it looked like the latest victim of “Resident” Joe Biden’s inflation woes was the world-famous — or infamous depending upon your taste in food — $5.00 “Hot-N-Ready” pizza from Little Caesars, but that’s not what the company is necessarily saying.
On Monday, America’s third-largest pizza chain announced that they will be raising the pizza prices from $5.00 to $5.55. That 11% price increase led many to believe that rising prices on wholesale items caused by inflation and other supply chain woes was the main cause of the higher cost.
But a press release from Little Caesars claims the price has increased because the “new and improved” pizza will include 33% more pepperoni.
“Change is good when it comes to giving our customers more of what they love,” Jeff Klein, chief marketing officer at Little Caesars, said in a press release, “and we’re changing our iconic HOT-N-READY Classic, adding 33% more savory, meaty pepperoni still at the country’s most affordable price.”
Yet, as CNN noted, prices have gone up, and up, forcing many restaurants to raise prices:
Prices for basically everything have also blossomed, even at restaurants were prices spiked 5.8% over the 12 months ending in November 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The sharp increases underscore the fact that restaurants and food makers are not immune to supply chain and labor pressures contributing to pricing increases across the board.
The “Hot-N-Ready” pizza debuted in 2004 and had kept the same $5.00 price for nearly 20 years. According to the Detroit Free Press, customers in many areas saw their pizza price increase weeks ago:
Prices for the Hot-N-Ready have always varied by market, said Little Caesars spokeswoman Annie McGraw. In some markets, including some Detroit stores, the price increase hit weeks ago. In other markets, customers saw the increase to $5.55 months ago, according to posts across social media.
While the company did not cite inflation as the specific reason for the price hike, numerous analysts like Bezinga’s Chris Katje speculated that the new price will resonate with Little Caesar’s customers precisely because the cheap food item was so associated with the brand at the previous dollar amount:
Many restaurants raise prices every couple years to combat rising food costs and employee wages. These changes usually go unnoticed by the public as most customers don’t remember exact price points of menu items.
Little Caesars created strong brand awareness with the $5 Hot-N-Ready, but now faces the flipside dilemma of being associated for one price and not being able to change it without the public noticing.
Another brand that faces this dilemma is Subway, which has utilized a marketing campaign of the $5 footlong, which has led to backlash from franchise owners as the profit margins have shrank on the item over the years.
In all, the new cost of the pizza may serve as another reminder that in Biden’s America, the cost of everything just keeps getting higher. Compounded with the fact that the Dollar Store had to raise its prices to $1.25 recently, the higher pizza price indicates that even America’s best bargains are more expensive.