Let us preface this tale with a few key pieces of information.
This node is meant to detail the currently ongoing feud between Monroe, Michigan pizzerias. As of this writing, there is roughly one pizza company per 1,000 people, in a city of 30,000. This is not counting the multiple store locations some of the bigger franchises have operating.
It began innocently enough with the opening of a new Little Caesars Pizza shop in a newly constructed strip mall. The place was more or less forgotten within a few weeks.
However, the pizza chain came up with a very aggressive ad campaign; the "hot-n-ready" pizza. For only five dollars, you could walk in, buy either a large pepperoni or cheese pizza, and leave within 30 seconds.
The result was a smashing success for Little Caesars. The Detroit-based company was easily outstripping the local pizzerias (whose normal one topping larges ran anywhere from 8 to 10 dollars, and took around 20 minutes to make) sales-wise. People were flocking to Little Caesars to buy literally tons of pizza. There are multiple reported instances of people walking in and purchasing a week's or a month's worth of pizza in one shot, with the intention of freezing the excess pies for a later date of consumption.
The local pizzerias were faced with a terrible dilemma: Drop their prices down to five dollars, or risk going bankrupt.
The Little Caesars franchise has done the five-dollar pizza campaign in multiple markets, but usually only on a temporary basis. As people flock to their franchises, the local pizzerias usually ended up folding. After that, it was an easy thing to crank the prices back up to normal levels; after all, they have made themselves the only pizzeria in town.
However, for some reason, Monroe pizzerias seemed determined to fight this one to the end. Within months, all of the major pizza places in a 20 mile radius had the five dollar pizza matched or beat. Dominoes Pizza began touting their 5 dollar large as having the most amount of pepporoni per slice. Tiffany's, a local chain, began offering one-topping pizzas of any kind for five bucks. Buscemi's pizza, another local pizza pie operation, undercut everyone for a time by offering any one topping for $4.79. They soon bumped it back up to 5 dollars. Jet's Pizza currently runs a 4 dollar large promotion on certain days.
And still, the competition only grows fiercer. There have been some casulties. Papa John's, one of the four dollar pizza pioneers, folded within 6 months. Buscemis had to abandon its 25-year shop in order to move to a smaller, more remote place to cut costs. Some pizzerias are using substandard ingredients, including Little Caesars.
The pressure is on; someone must be ready to topple. How long can 28+ pizza places continue to offer insanely low pies for so long? It's practically a craze in Monroe County; more people are eating pizza now than ever before. The default meal at parties is now inescapably pizza. The default meal at meetings, conferences, and business deals? Pizza. How about flea markets and charity events? Pizza. Pizza is being consumed everywhere.
Something's gotta give. Who will win? The national, multi-million dollar chain, or the tough, local Italians that have a dedicated clientele? For the moment, it's anyone's guess.