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  #1  
Old 10-28-2012, 05:30 PM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is offline
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How are places like Little Caesars HOT-N-READY pizzas made so quick?

Went by Little Caesars drive thru last night. Ordered the three meat HOT-N-READY. The lady had it in her hand when I pulled up to the window. That's faster service than McDonald's or Wendys.

How are they making this magic happen? Are these frozen and zapped in a microwave? Made hours earlier <yuck> and microwaved as I drive up? How long could pizza be kept hot in a warmer box after cooking it? Maybe 30 minutes? I'm curious what Little Caesars is doing.

Do any other chains offer this instant order pizza?

In the past smart pizza lovers called ahead and ordered pizza because it needed 20 minutes to cook. I'm loving HOT-N-READY.

Last edited by aceplace57; 10-28-2012 at 05:33 PM..
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  #2  
Old 10-28-2012, 05:51 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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They're doing it the same way McDonald's does. They know about how much business they'll do at any given time of any given day, and start making them before they're ordered. This is also why they have such a small selection: Two or three varieties is a lot more predictable than the dozens or more that most pizza places have.

Sometimes, when you go to Little Caesar's and order a pizza, they'll tell you it'll be 10 minutes. That doesn't mean that they cook them that fast; it means that they slightly underestimated demand that day and have one they started 10 minutes ago for a 20 minute baking. Presumably, they also sometimes slightly overestimate, which probably means that their employees get to take a cold pizza home at the end of their shift.

As for other chains with the same business plan, around here there's also Georgio's. They're similarly cheap, and taste a bit better.
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  #3  
Old 10-28-2012, 05:55 PM
OttoDaFe OttoDaFe is offline
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To expand a bit on Chronos's explanation: at the walk-in that I patronize occasionally, when the counter attendant pulls a pizza from the warmer he or she will sing out, "taking one pepperoni, leave two" (numbers adjusted to match the situation). I imagine that when the second figure reaches a certain point ó which undoubtedly varies by the time of day ó the people in the back room get off their duffs and start making more.

Funny thing about LC: I'm fully aware that it's crap "pizza," but there are times that it's damned satisfying (and I don't drink, so that's not the reason). In addition, in my experience it's easily the best cold-morning-after pizza of any chain 'round here.
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  #4  
Old 10-28-2012, 06:01 PM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is offline
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Thanks! I can see how that works. At least I won't be surprised if I occasionally have to wait 5 min.

I had wondered if places like LC were just heating frozen pizzas. But its probably still cheaper to make them local than shipping frozen ones.
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  #5  
Old 10-28-2012, 06:06 PM
chrisk chrisk is online now
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I have to admit, I love the Little Caesar's pepperoni pie.

At the place across the street, quite often while I'm waiting I'll notice the order person calling 'Can I get X in' to the back kitchen staff, repeating exactly what the customer ordered - not because they're short; presumably to return the number of each type of pizza ready and waiting to come out of the warming box to the desired status quo. As in, 'Can I get 2 pepperoni and 1 veggie in?'
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  #6  
Old 10-28-2012, 06:07 PM
FordTaurusSHO94 FordTaurusSHO94 is offline
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Originally Posted by OttoDaFe View Post
Funny thing about LC: I'm fully aware that it's crap "pizza,"
Nah, it's just another flavor.

I had to put that in before the pizza snobs come in to say that the only good pizza comes from some small hole in the wall place and is only made properly by one old man on this planet and pizza will be dead to them the day he retires.
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  #7  
Old 10-28-2012, 08:43 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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You have to try really hard to make pizza that's actually bad. Some pizzas are certainly better than others, and a lot of pizzas are better than Little Caesar's, but it's still not bad pizza.
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  #8  
Old 10-28-2012, 09:09 PM
Sin Serially Sin Serially is offline
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I've worked at a LC franchise. This was 10 years ago but even then, we could make a pizza in about 6 minutes.

Bake time is only around 5 minutes. Throwing sauce, cheese and toppings on some dough takes less than a minute for someone experienced.

That said (and our store didn't have "Hot and Ready") I don't see how a quick pizza would be hard to crank out.

I'm assuming "Hot and Ready" pizzas are cooked and waiting under a heat lamp however.
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  #9  
Old 10-28-2012, 09:18 PM
Ambivalid Ambivalid is online now
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
You have to try really hard to make pizza that's actually bad. Some pizzas are certainly better than others, and a lot of pizzas are better than Little Caesar's, but it's still not bad pizza.
All I know is I had gotten used to Jets pizza and when I tried calling in an order only to find I had called too late and they were closed, I had no choice but to go with the LC option. It was not even comparable. The LC "pizza" just tasted like bread and cheese with a bunch of real thick ketchup in between. I sucked up my disappointment and made myself eat the pizza in it's entirety. 'Cause I ain't no yellabelly.
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  #10  
Old 10-28-2012, 09:36 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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Originally Posted by Ambivalid View Post
All I know is I had gotten used to Jets pizza and when I tried calling in an order only to find I had called too late and they were closed, I had no choice but to go with the LC option. It was not even comparable. The LC "pizza" just tasted like bread and cheese with a bunch of real thick ketchup in between. I sucked up my disappointment and made myself eat the pizza in it's entirety. 'Cause I ain't no yellabelly.
I have to agree, though I may well agree with Chronos that LC is not actively "bad," as in inedible. But as far as pizza goes, in my opinion, it's pretty bad, and not something I'd order unless it was the only place open at night. If that makes me a pizza "snob," so be it. I'm just not spending money on something I personally don't like. I'll go to McD's for a double cheeseburger, which I do like.

Last edited by pulykamell; 10-28-2012 at 09:37 PM..
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  #11  
Old 10-28-2012, 10:37 PM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is offline
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LC happens to be the closest to me other than Pizza Hut. I refuse to visit Pizza Hut ever again. They delivered two pizzas on two different trips with hamburger that tasted rancid.

There is a couple local pizza places that I prefer, but they close early. I think at 9pm? So after that LC is my only choice.

Last edited by aceplace57; 10-28-2012 at 10:38 PM..
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  #12  
Old 10-28-2012, 11:04 PM
Hampshire Hampshire is online now
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Our local brick oven chain, Punch Pizza, bakes neopolitain style pizzas in 90 seconds at 800 degrees.
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  #13  
Old 10-29-2012, 03:04 AM
Smapti Smapti is online now
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Little Caesar's pizzas are the best restaurant pizza you can buy for $5.

Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing is up to you.

As to "how do they do it", as a former fast food manager I assume it's basically a matter of staging. At the restaurant I ran (Jack in the Box, for the record), every morning the store computer produced a series of charts broken down for every 15-minute interval of the day, which showed us, based on sales projections and ordering trends, how many burger patties, chicken patties, tacos etc. we should have cooked, prepared, and ready to sell during that particular time, and as those products sold, we'd cook to replace them.

It'd be comparatively simple for Little Caesar's, since they only offer three types of pizza as Hot-n-Ready most of the day (cheese, sausage, and pepperoni) and there are a few others that they promote as Hot-n-Ready during dinner hours only. They probably have a chart in the back that says that at 5:00, they need so many pepperoni, so many sausage, etc., and when one of those sells, they prep a new one and toss it into the oven.
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  #14  
Old 10-29-2012, 08:05 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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Put it this way: If you were offered free pizza, and it was Little Caesar's, would you turn it down?
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  #15  
Old 10-29-2012, 08:43 PM
drewtwo99 drewtwo99 is offline
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Little Caesar's pizza, on the few occaisions I've had it, was roughly on par with almost all pizza I've ever eaten.

For me, all pizza is about the same. But sometimes you get a craving for that "crap" pizza, and it's hard to explain. For me that's Papa John's, which I admit is terrible pizza but for some reason I'm just in the mood for it.
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  #16  
Old 10-29-2012, 09:44 PM
typoink typoink is offline
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Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
I have to agree, though I may well agree with Chronos that LC is not actively "bad," as in inedible. But as far as pizza goes, in my opinion, it's pretty bad, and not something I'd order unless it was the only place open at night. If that makes me a pizza "snob," so be it. I'm just not spending money on something I personally don't like. I'll go to McD's for a double cheeseburger, which I do like.
I consider LC's a "minimally acceptible foodstuff."

If my only thought is, "I am hungry and want to eat an edible object," it's just fine.
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  #17  
Old 10-29-2012, 10:46 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is online now
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little caesars is actually pretty good. It isn't the best working class/middle class pizza chain but for $5 for a large with no waiting it is pretty decent.

Like others have said they have a warmer. But sometimes when I go there they tell me there is a 10 minute wait. Which sucks because when the pizza comes it is too hot to eat. I prefer the pizza that has been sitting in the warmer, it is cool enough to eat.
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  #18  
Old 10-29-2012, 10:56 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
Put it this way: If you were offered free pizza, and it was Little Caesar's, would you turn it down?
Well, I don't turn down free food of any kind (it's rude), so I guess not.
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  #19  
Old 10-29-2012, 11:53 PM
billfish678 billfish678 is online now
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IMO even a rather cheap crappy pizza is generally pretty decent when quite fresh and hot. The less good it is the more likely it is to be any one of or all off the following.

Not so good when not fresh and piping hot.

Not good reheated or just kept heated for any length of time.

Certainly not good cold or reheated after some period of time.

Not likely to agree with one's digestive system later when eaten in large quantities no matter what the conditions.

Now don't get me wrong ...a cheap ass LC pizza ain't nearly as good as "good pizza" but as Chronos notes it is pretty hard to make a bad pizza. Though I have one here and there over the years that made me think WTF? did they make this out of? Rancid biscuit dough, ketchup, and velvetta cheeze?

We've been playing around with making our own pizzas at home. One key seems to be heat heat heat. The oven isn't really hot enough really. The SO wants to build a wood fired pizza oven. Myself leans towards an electric "pizza kiln" of some sort.
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  #20  
Old 10-30-2012, 01:48 AM
prettydorky prettydorky is offline
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Have you seen these? They're so weird and gimmicky that I am tempted to get one.

As for the topic at hand- I had the rancid-tasting LC pizza several months ago and quit going. But then a week ago, I brought one with me when I was in a hurry somewhere, and thus was able to feed 5 people for 5 bucks. And it didn't taste bad at all, really. Even the crust was edible.

I did notice a few other things on the menu there now, like chicken wings. I wondered about those. Could they be sat under a warmer? Seems like they'd be all congealed.
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  #21  
Old 10-30-2012, 05:15 AM
Sahirrnee Sahirrnee is online now
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
Put it this way: If you were offered free pizza, and it was Little Caesar's, would you turn it down?
Yes
It's only one small half-step above a Chuck e cheeze pizza
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  #22  
Old 10-30-2012, 08:30 AM
WOOKINPANUB WOOKINPANUB is offline
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I was pretty dubious about the whole hot and ready thing. I remember when Pizza Hut tried the same thing with personal pan pizzas and I never once ordered one that didn't have to be made while I waited. Anyway, I stopped by LC a couple of weeks ago and sure enough there was a stack of pies in a pizza warmer. The pizza I got had probably been made at least an hour prior. I guess technically it was "ready";it was definitely not hot. To be fair to LC, it was about 3pm and I was totally prepared to receive an old pizza as I know there's no way they're going to have fresh pizzas available at all hours. I think they shoulddo themselves and their customers a favor and only make the offer for lunch and dinner times. Someone is either going to get a crappy pizza or will have to wait when they were anticating being able to just run in and grab one. Not a great campaign.
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  #23  
Old 10-30-2012, 09:19 AM
FordTaurusSHO94 FordTaurusSHO94 is offline
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I prefer when they've sat for awhile. The fresh ones are too hot and I have to let them cool anyways.
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  #24  
Old 10-30-2012, 09:40 AM
Justin_Bailey Justin_Bailey is online now
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
You have to try really hard to make pizza that's actually bad.
And yet, tons of places do it every day.

Pro Tip: If you're ever in the Rochester, NY area and someone says, "Let's go to Salvatore's," quietly remove yourself from the situation. I don't know what you call what they do, but it ain't pizza.
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  #25  
Old 10-30-2012, 11:02 AM
Kimballkid Kimballkid is offline
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They used to have a Little Caesar's in the Kmart here. I didn't think it was too bad. Sadly both it and the Kmart are both gone.
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  #26  
Old 10-30-2012, 12:04 PM
Disheavel Disheavel is offline
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Originally Posted by Sin Serially View Post
I've worked at a LC franchise. This was 10 years ago but even then, we could make a pizza in about 6 minutes.

Bake time is only around 5 minutes. Throwing sauce, cheese and toppings on some dough takes less than a minute for someone experienced.

That said (and our store didn't have "Hot and Ready") I don't see how a quick pizza would be hard to crank out.

I'm assuming "Hot and Ready" pizzas are cooked and waiting under a heat lamp however.
Finally something I am an expert in! (well still one of several, but I'm moving up in the board!) I worked at Little Caesar's for 3 years and If the dough had been already put in the pan as it should have been (usually about 8 of any size ready to go), the sauce and cheese and toppings took 10-15 seconds. The oven from start to finish took 4:30 @ 550˚ F on the conveyor, but if you pushed the pizza all the way in (1 pan length) and after going through the oven you pushed it back 1 pan length it was only about 3:15 and fully cooked. Boxing, cutting, and bagging took less than 30 seconds. So a pizza could easily be done in less than 4 minutes and up to company standards if one were paying attention. There were other fixes like starting a cheese pizza and adding toppings half way through baking that can be employed as well. If we started to get bogged down, we just made large cheese pizzas, added toppings as needed and sold them at the medium/large price as the customer wanted.

For lunch rushes etc., the counter person watched the parking lot and could call out how many more would be needed. Single old person = 1, a couple = 1, a parent in a minivan =2, a frat boy = 2+, a parent with children in tow = 2. After working at pizza place for a week, you can predict with incredible accuracy what people will order by how they come up to the counter or start talking on the phone. And by the time a spotted customer in the parking lot gets to the counter, a pie or two could be half done baking.

Last edited by Disheavel; 10-30-2012 at 12:06 PM.. Reason: added last sentnce
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  #27  
Old 10-30-2012, 12:10 PM
Ambivalid Ambivalid is online now
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After working at pizza place for a week, you can predict with incredible accuracy what people will order by how they come up to the counter or start talking on the phone.
Could you explain this a bit more? "How they come up to the counter"? Really? In what ways does a person's body language indicate the number of pizzas they will be ordering?
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  #28  
Old 10-30-2012, 12:16 PM
tomcar tomcar is offline
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
Put it this way: If you were offered free pizza, and it was Little Caesar's, would you turn it down?
I would certainly turn it down. The only time i would eat one is if offered at a persons house, and i dont want to offend them.
Why spend $5 on pizza when you can get a Tony's for $2.
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  #29  
Old 10-30-2012, 12:33 PM
chrisk chrisk is online now
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I would certainly turn it down. The only time i would eat one is if offered at a persons house, and i dont want to offend them.
Why spend $5 on pizza when you can get a Tony's for $2.
Okay, I'll bite - where do you get Tony's pizza for two dollars?

To start off with, is this a restaurant franchise of some kind, or a brand of pizza you can get in a grocery store?
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  #30  
Old 10-30-2012, 12:41 PM
Ambivalid Ambivalid is online now
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I would certainly turn it down. The only time i would eat one is if offered at a persons house, and i dont want to offend them.
Why spend $5 on pizza when you can get a Tony's for $2.
You don't spend $5 on free stuff.
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  #31  
Old 10-30-2012, 12:44 PM
Strassia Strassia is online now
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
You have to try really hard to make pizza that's actually bad. Some pizzas are certainly better than others, and a lot of pizzas are better than Little Caesar's, but it's still not bad pizza.
I grew up on Little Ceasare's and think it is perfectly adequate for what it is. I have had badly prepared pizza from there (under cooked or burnt) but that was an exception at a newly opened store.

That said, I have encountered two truly bad pizzas in my life. The first was from a place in Orlando that sold $5 large take away pizza. That one was so bad it went through two floors of Navy training barracks with no one finishing a piece. The second was at work in Israel. It may be possible to make a good kosher pizza, but this was not it. The cheese was like Velveeta, the sauce like Spaghetti-Os and the toppings were green olives and tuna fish.
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  #32  
Old 10-30-2012, 12:52 PM
Drunky Smurf Drunky Smurf is offline
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Originally Posted by Strassia View Post
The cheese was like Velveeta, the sauce like Spaghetti-Os and the toppings were green olives and tuna fish.
I was with Chronos about their being no bad pizza but this my friends is a bad pizza.

I've had the LC H&R recently and for being a cheap-ass pizza it was pretty good for being a cheap-ass pizza. Even left overs the next day were pretty good.
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  #33  
Old 10-30-2012, 12:58 PM
Spiff Spiff is offline
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Originally Posted by Hampshire View Post
Our local brick oven chain, Punch Pizza, bakes neopolitain style pizzas in 90 seconds at 800 degrees.
I live just across the Mississippi River from you, and I, too, am a big fan of Punch. Very authentic Italian pizza, made super fast.
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  #34  
Old 10-30-2012, 01:00 PM
tomcar tomcar is offline
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Okay, I'll bite - where do you get Tony's pizza for two dollars?

To start off with, is this a restaurant franchise of some kind, or a brand of pizza you can get in a grocery store?
They are frozen pizzas.
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  #35  
Old 10-30-2012, 01:56 PM
Skammer Skammer is offline
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LC is what we usually get for the kids and babysitter when my wife and I are going out to eat elsewhere, because it's cheap and the kids like it. I don't mind eating it because even bad pizza is good, but it's way down on my list of favorite pizzas. Lately we've been on a kick of getting Papa Murphy's, which they make to order and you take home and bake in your own oven.

The LC pizzas are not under a heat lamp (at our place), they're kept in a warming rack. The person at the register will yell out "taking a pep!" and the crew knows they need to make another pepperoni to replace it. If you order a flavor other than cheese or pepperoni, you have to wait for them to make it (but not long).
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  #36  
Old 10-30-2012, 01:58 PM
voltaire voltaire is offline
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When it comes to cheap pizza, I feel sorry for people who don't have a Hungry Howies.

LC pizza is still overpriced at $5.
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  #37  
Old 10-30-2012, 02:07 PM
Infovore Infovore is online now
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Funny thing is, most of the "bad" pizzas I've had have been highish-end pizzas. I'm not a Little Caesars fan, but for what they are (cheap pizza) they aren't that bad. Ditto Domino's (which actually used to be quite tasty when I was in college back in the '80s but haven't had one recently).

The worst recent pizza I've had was from a place called Amici's. It was a nice restaurant with higher prices, and the pizza was too thin, barely had any cheese (even though we ordered extra) and the toppings were sparse and not tasty. Oh, and the crust was burned. I hate pizza with burned crust. At least the lower end chains can be counted on to be relatively consistent.
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  #38  
Old 10-30-2012, 02:27 PM
tomcar tomcar is offline
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Funny thing is, most of the "bad" pizzas I've had have been highish-end pizzas. I'm not a Little Caesars fan, but for what they are (cheap pizza) they aren't that bad. Ditto Domino's (which actually used to be quite tasty when I was in college back in the '80s but haven't had one recently).

The worst recent pizza I've had was from a place called Amici's. It was a nice restaurant with higher prices, and the pizza was too thin, barely had any cheese (even though we ordered extra) and the toppings were sparse and not tasty. Oh, and the crust was burned. I hate pizza with burned crust. At least the lower end chains can be counted on to be relatively consistent.
Dominos thin crust is gourmet compared to LC.
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  #39  
Old 10-30-2012, 02:27 PM
Guinastasia Guinastasia is online now
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LC is pretty meh. It's not the greatest, but it'll do. Crazy Bread, however, is fucking manna. Love that stuff.
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  #40  
Old 10-30-2012, 02:28 PM
tomcar tomcar is offline
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When it comes to cheap pizza, I feel sorry for people who don't have a Hungry Howies.

LC pizza is still overpriced at $5.
Ive never had HH. Its good?
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  #41  
Old 10-30-2012, 02:32 PM
sitchensis sitchensis is offline
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The worst possible pizza is all that brick oven artisan crap. They charge three times what a normal pizza costs, give you about 6 inches of crust and some goat cheese and pesto in a little circle. I canít believe people buy that shit.
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  #42  
Old 10-30-2012, 02:32 PM
kayaker kayaker is offline
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How are places like Little Caesars HOT-N-READY pizzas made so quick?

I don't think they're sifting the flour immediately prior to making your pie. (If I'm wrong, I'll apologize)
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  #43  
Old 10-30-2012, 03:22 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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The worst possible pizza is all that brick oven artisan crap. They charge three times what a normal pizza costs, give you about 6 inches of crust and some goat cheese and pesto in a little circle. I can’t believe people buy that shit.
A lot of the brick oven places truly are crap, but a lot of them are among the best pizzas I've ever had. I don't know what you mean by 6 inches of pizza. A typical Neapolitan style is usually about 12 inches in diameter. They are generally fairly pricey compared with a regular thin crust pizza from your local Domino's, though. My two favorite styles are Midwestern thin crust and Neapolitan-style brick oven. They all have their merits. Plus I'll put in a vote for Detroit style pan.

Last edited by pulykamell; 10-30-2012 at 03:24 PM..
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  #44  
Old 10-30-2012, 03:23 PM
DiosaBellissima DiosaBellissima is offline
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Originally Posted by voltaire View Post
When it comes to cheap pizza, I feel sorry for people who don't have a Hungry Howies.

LC pizza is still overpriced at $5.
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Originally Posted by tomcar View Post
Ive never had HH. Its good?

HH is delicious-- especially their butter cheese crust. It's not fancy pizza, but it's about 5 steps up from LC on the cheap pizza deliciousness front. I'll choose HH over LC, Pizza Hut, or Dominos any day.
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  #45  
Old 10-30-2012, 03:27 PM
Jophiel Jophiel is offline
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I went to LC once and asked for the "Supreme" (sausage and some veggies) for all of $8 instead of the single ingredient $5 pizzas. It was every bit of a 15+ minute wait so I'm guessing there's some ongoing prep time required for the $5 pizzas. They sure weren't able to bang it out in 6-10 minutes.

When I worked near a LC, I'd get the $5 offer now and then for lunch. I'd eat about half and toss the rest on to the break room table. It always disappeared and I never heard anyone complain. It always struck me as perfectly serviceable cheap pizza. Nothing I'd get for out of town guests but nothing to get offended by either. As someone else noted, it's the best complete pizza five bucks can buy.
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  #46  
Old 10-30-2012, 03:52 PM
Inner Stickler Inner Stickler is offline
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Originally Posted by Spiff View Post
I live just across the Mississippi River from you, and I, too, am a big fan of Punch. Very authentic Italian pizza, made super fast.
So it's good? What's the best pizza they have? I drive by the location in Uptown a lot and I've been curious to try it out but none of my friends have been there so we always default to davanni's. *makes note to go to Punch's.*
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  #47  
Old 10-30-2012, 04:00 PM
sitchensis sitchensis is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
I don't know what you mean by 6 inches of pizza. A typical Neapolitan style is usually about 12 inches in diameter.
I was commenting on how they stretch out the crust to some irregular shape and then only put toppings in the very center of the pizza. You order a 12 inch pie but you only really get 6 inches of actual toppings and a whole lot of crust.
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  #48  
Old 10-30-2012, 04:07 PM
Kimballkid Kimballkid is offline
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Originally Posted by chrisk View Post
Okay, I'll bite - where do you get Tony's pizza for two dollars?

To start off with, is this a restaurant franchise of some kind, or a brand of pizza you can get in a grocery store?
Tony's Pizza. They recently started making it square to fill the box.
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  #49  
Old 10-30-2012, 05:21 PM
BigT BigT is offline
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You can call it all crap pizza, but when your doctor makes you go gluten free, you sure get a craving for it. Homemade gluten-free pizza just isn't the same.
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  #50  
Old 10-30-2012, 06:27 PM
Hampshire Hampshire is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inner Stickler View Post
So it's good? What's the best pizza they have? I drive by the location in Uptown a lot and I've been curious to try it out but none of my friends have been there so we always default to davanni's. *makes note to go to Punch's.*
Check out their online menu. It's all personal pizzas. Usually either basil based or oregeno based. I usually get the Palermo. No waiter either, fast counter service.
Guarantee it will be a hit with at least one person in your group.
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