Little Caesars Hot And Ready: What To Know Before Ordering

It's a Friday night and you and your friends are ready to hit the town, but first, you want to grab a bite to eat. Something quick and easy, like a hot, oven-fresh pizza would really hit the spot, but no one wants to sit down in a restaurant and wait nearly half an hour to be served. 

Little Caesars, carrying on the boldness of their Roman emperor namesake, offers a seemingly perfect solution. Per the website, in 1997 Little Caesars introduced the Hot-N-Ready menu, which could, essentially, satisfy your desire for a fresh, hot pie in mere minutes. But, being the savvy consumer you are, you probably have some questions on how that Hot-N-Ready pizza works. Once you're done reading this, you can decide if you're better off sitting down at your local pizza joint, or seeing for yourself why Little Caesars was named Best Value in America for nine years in a row (via PR Newswire).

What is a Little Caesars Hot-N-Ready?

Hot-N-Ready is a pie or other menu item you can order and have within minutes. According to Brand Eating, Little Caesars Hot-N-Ready Pizza sits in a warmer oven after it's baked fresh, this way it's always ready to go. The website states that all the pizzas are baked at 475 degrees and never handled after baking for ultimate safety, and the Hot-N-Ready pizzas are kept warm until sold. The Hot-N-Ready menu boasts breadsticks and chicken wings as well. 

Exactly how the company manages to prepare the right amount of pizza to be sold for the Hot-N-Ready deal is still up for debate, with Little Caesars employees, both past and present, suggesting the use of projection charts and experience of the "rushes" to ensure that the correct amount of pizzas are made (via Quora).

While this fast and cheap food might seem too good to be true, for some items, there actually is a small catch. Certain foods on the Hot-N-Ready menu, such as the newest cheesy creation — the Crazy Calzony — are only available from 4-8 pm (via PR Newswire). If you're in the mood to satisfy a cheezy craving, it's best you wait until dinner to head to your local Little Caesars, this way you'll have more options.  

How much does Little Caesars Hot-N-Ready cost?

You might assume that the Hot-N-Ready pizza sacrifices cost for convenience. Fortunately for you (and your wallet), you needn't worry about paying a high price for your Hot-N-Ready food. According to the website, Little Caesars sells Hot-N-Ready Slices-N-Stix for $6 between 4 and 8 pm. This includes four pepperoni pizza slices, eight Italian cheese sticks, and crazy sauce. 

Real Menu Prices reports that the Hot-N-Ready cheese, sausage, and pepperoni pizzas are now $6, the DEEP!DEEP! Dish pizza is $8, and the Bacon Wrapped Crust DEEP!DEEP! Dish goes for $12.

Now you may be thinking, "I remember those commercials where they said the Hot-N-Ready pizza was only $5. What happened?" While the Hot-N-Ready deal was $5 for over 20 years, the company has raised the price (per popculture.). Combining the small price increase with state taxes, you find yourself drifting away from that favored $5 mark. While it's unclear if this is due to the supply chain crisis or another reason, Little Caesars addressed this issue with their patrons via a sign on the door of certain locations. The sign states that, while they know this may come as a surprise, they hope guests will agree that the Hot-N-Ready is still a great value. The sign also says that they "appreciate every customer" and hope for their continued support (via Twitter).

How tasty are the Hot-N-Ready options?

While a pizza that's both hot and ready for under $10 is a pretty fair deal, what really matters is how it tastes. You could have found a delicious pizza for a steal, or just paid for some greasy, lukewarm cardboard. So, just how good is the Little Caesars Hot-N-Ready food?

Brand Eating noted in its review that the Hot-N-Ready pizza's main selling point was its value and, while it is admittedly bland, it's still a pretty decent pizza. TheReportOfTheWeek's John Jurasek described the Hot-N-Ready Pepperoni Pizza as not too thick or thin, and stated it resembled a "standard, hand-tossed pizza." He went on to share that he was impressed by the taste of the pizza despite its low cost, and gave the Hot-N-Ready an "8.7 out of 10" rating.

The Rochester NY Pizza Blog wasn't as impressed as Jurasek or Brand Eating. The outlet described the bottom of the pizza as having a dry, "pancake-like appearance" and shared that it didn't seem to rise much while baking. They noted the sauce tasted like canned spaghetti sauce, but that the cheese was stretchy and not an oily mess. In the end, the pizza blog's review states that a Hot-N-Ready pizza is fine if you're hungry and broke, but to seek better pizza if you have the means.

Nutritional information about Little Caesars Hot-N-Ready pizza

A hot pepperoni pizza, with all of that oil and grease from the cheese, sauce, and meat, usually isn't the first meal that comes to mind when someone mentions getting healthy food. That doesn't mean you should skip a slice if you're craving one, but if you're keeping a watchful eye on your health, is Little Caesars the healthiest choice compared to the other big-name pizza chains?

According to Fast Food Nutrition, one slice of Little Caesars 14-inch Hot-N-Ready Pepperoni Pizza is 276 calories with 11 grams of fat, 583 milligrams of sodium, and 26 milligrams of cholesterol. A slice of the same pizza from a Pizza Hut pie is 299 calories with 13 grams of fat, 726 milligrams of sodium, and 27 milligrams of cholesterol (per nutritionix). A Domino's pepperoni slice is 280 calories with 11 grams of fat, 500 milligrams of sodium, and 30 milligrams of cholesterol (via CalorieKing).

Little Caesars and Domino's are close in fat and cholesterol, but Pizza Hut dominates in those levels, along with sodium. If you're ready to enjoy a slice of pizza, and want it fast, maybe it's best to give Little Caesars Hot-N-Ready a shot. 

How Hot-N-Ready led to the closing of Little Caesars in Kansas

How could a cheap deal for Little Caesars pizza lead to a court battle? According to the Missouri Business Alert, in 2018, 21 Little Caesars locations in the Kansas City area were forced to close following franchisee Alan Knox's shady attempts at remedying the failing locations. The decline in profits, Knox asserted, was due to the $5 Hot-N-Ready deal being too low for the Kansas City area. Without approval from Little Caesars, Knox raised the price of the deal to $5.99 but pressure from the company forced him to change it back to the original $5 price. Unable to cover his payments to the company, or sustain his overhead, Knox tried to sue Little Caesars where he eventually lost his case — and his franchises. 

According to PMQ Pizza Magazine, Knox wasn't the only one to have trouble with the $5 deal, as other franchise owners struggled to make ends meet with, what Todd Messer, executive director of the Independent Organization of Little Caesars Franchisees called, an "unprofitable business model." 

The good news for Kansas City pizza lovers is that, since 2019, Little Caesars has been making a slow return under new ownership, per Kansas City NPR. Even better news for Kansas City — the Hot-N-Ready deal is back, too.