Little Caesars says it’s growing faster than just about any pizza chain – and eyeing Baltimore as a hot market.

The chain’s vice president of franchise development says the Baltimore metro area figures into a new strategy to target suburban and rural communities and to seek real estate on college campuses, military bases and within convenience stores.

The carryout known for its $5 ready-to-go-pizza already has several dozen locations in Maryland, many in strip malls scattered throughout Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Howard and Harford counties.

But there’s plenty of room to grow, said Bob M. Mazziotti, the vice president. He envisions the privately held chain adding a new franchisee-operated store every two to four months in the next year, then accelerating the pace over the next few years.

"Based on our experience that we’re having, the products that we’re utilizing today, the "Hot-N-Ready" pizza and "Crazy Bread", we’re having great success with it, and it’s time to bring it up the East Coast," Mazziotti said. "Baltimore has a great demographic. Now it’s time to go from a few (locations) to quite a few."

 Little Caesars has seen sales and store locations grow for more than a decade, thanks to a business model based on franchising and a focus on just a few ready-to-go items, Mazziotti said.

The first Little Caesars Pizza restaurant opened in 1959 in Garden City, Mich.

lorraine.mirabella@baltsun.com