• Ex-Pizza Hut duo franchises 59 Little Caesars

Little Caesars has signed Cutting Edge Pizza LLC to operate 59 Little Caesars Pizza restaurants in Missouri, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Maryland.

The company is owned by former Pizza Hut executives Perry Ludy and Terry Huffman. The men launched their Little Caesars operation on June 19. As part of a five-year plan, the pair will develop new Little Caesars units in dozens of locations throughout the country. Cutting Edge Pizza is based in West Hartford, Conn.

Huffman is a former regional vice president for Pizza Hut and has more than 25 years of experience managing pizza restaurants and retail businesses. He will oversee the day-to-day business operations of the company.

Ludy, author of the book, Profit Building: Cutting Costs Without Cutting People, also was a senior executive for Pizza Hut.

Detroit-based Little Ceasars has struggled in recent years, closing as many as 1,000 stores in the past four years. Mike and Marian Ilitch, founders and owners of the privately held company, have rarely disclosed information about the company's store numbers or sales. But industry reports put them at 3,900 and $1.7 billion respectively.

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