Thursday, December 11, 2008

U.S. Military Veteran Opens Store Under Little Caesars Veterans Program

/PRNewswire/ -- Little Caesar Enterprises, Inc. today proudly celebrates the grand opening of another store under the Little Caesars Veterans Program, as former U.S. Air Force Airman Eddie Underwood opens his Little Caesars Pizza restaurant at 4870 Floyd Road SW in Mableton, Georgia.

"I am proud to be part of the Little Caesars Veterans Program because it offers veterans like me the chance to enter the next stage in our careers by owning and operating a business," said Underwood. "I always wanted to be in business for myself and after researching Little Caesars, I was sold on the brand."

Born in Plattsburg, New York on an Air Force base, Underwood took after his father who also served in the military, and joined the U.S. Air Force after high school. Stationed at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska, he served as a financial management specialist responsible for accounts payables and receivables from 1985 to 1988.

Underwood transitioned to the U.S. Postal Service as a mail handler and has held several other positions before joining Little Caesars and becoming an entrepreneur.

"Little Caesars is focused on offering great products and giving back to the community and this choice is the right fit for me," said Underwood. "Little Caesars has always believed in providing terrific value to customers and I'm happy to be bringing that value to the Mableton community with my brother Isaac." Eddie Underwood will be responsible for the day-to-day operations in his Little Caesars store, while Isaac Underwood will help co-manage the business.

The Little Caesars Veterans Program was created in 2006 to thank veterans for their service and provide them with career opportunities when they transition to civilian life or seek a career change. It offers honorably discharged, service-disabled veterans, such as Underwood, who qualify as Little Caesars franchisees, a benefit of up to approximately $68,000. Honorably discharged, non-service-disabled veterans who qualify as Little Caesars franchisees are eligible for a benefit of up to approximately $20,000.

"With talented veterans such as Eddie joining the Little Caesars team, the Little Caesars Veterans Program continues to grow and offer veterans business ownership opportunities," said David Scrivano, president, Little Caesar Enterprises, Inc. "The skills Eddie gained in the military, such as teamwork, dedication and a familiarity with processes, will enable him to become a strong Little Caesars franchisee."

Some of the menu items Underwood will feature in his store include HOT-N-READY(R) Pizza, Crazy Bread(R), Caesar Wings(R) and Caesar Dips(R).

In one of the largest U.S. quick serve restaurant research studies in 2007, Little Caesars was named the best value for the money of all quick serve restaurant chains.* Sandelman & Associates' Quick-Track(R) research study tracks key consumer behavioral and attitudinal measures for all major fast-food chains. Surveys were conducted among more than 84,000 quick service restaurant customers in 70 major markets across the U.S. Little Caesars was also named highest rated pizza chain for "Convenience of Locations" and "Speed of Service."

Little Caesars was recently listed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) as one of the best loan performers among franchises with more than 60 SBA-guaranteed loans.** Little Caesars also works with preferred lenders who understand the business, which becomes increasingly important as it gets more difficult for entrepreneurs to secure financing in today's economy.

Since the program launched two years ago, interest has remained high in the Little Caesars Veterans Program. Currently, 45 veterans collectively are applying more than $1.25 million in credits and benefits to help them grow their Little Caesars businesses. To date, 2,400 inquires have been made about the program. Several veterans have also opened second stores and many are expected to open their first stores under the program in the coming months.

The Center for Veterans Enterprise (part of the Department of Veterans Affairs), Marine For Life (an organization that helps Marines and Sailors transition to civilian life), and the International Franchise Association (through its VetFran program) are points of contact for the Little Caesars Veterans Program. They can provide information about the requirements and qualifications of becoming a Little Caesars franchisee.

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