CiCi's Pizza on Track to Open 100 New Locations, Including the First in California

Despite economic downturn, CiCi's will continue expanding in 2009.

January 28, 2009 // Franchising.com // (Coppell, Texas) CiCi's Pizza will forge ahead with planned expansions in 2009, adding 100 new locations and expanding into California for the first time. Of the new locations, 20 will be CiCi's smaller To-Go concept, bringing the total To-Go count to 30 by year's end.

Despite the current state of the economy, CiCi's which started 2009 with a 4 percent increase over sales disclosed the first week of 2008, expects demand for its affordable fresh pizza, pasta and salad buffets to continue to grow along with the company's store count.

"CiCi's has grown through the years and will continue to grow into the future because we understand what our guests want," said Craig Moore, CiCi's President and CEO. "As the nation regroups economically this year, CiCi's will be there in ever-greater numbers to offer an affordable family dining experience in communities where we operate and intend to grow."

Restaurants are the only franchising segment expected to expand rather than contract in 2009, according to the recent 2009 Franchising Forecast done by PricewaterhouseCoopers for the International Franchise Association. Quick-service restaurants are slated to expand the number of units by 1.5 percent and are expected to increase their economic output by 2.4 percent to $190 billion.

As pricier restaurant concepts continue to struggle to keep budget-conscious diners coming back, CiCi's is well positioned for growth, as it continues to attract guests with its variety of pizza, pasta and salad buffet all for five bucks and change. Of the 100 CiCi's restaurants slated to open in 2009, 80 will be the traditional buffets that seat an average of 200, but CiCi's will also open 20 new To-Go units this year.

In its "Best of 2008," QSR magazine named CiCi's To-Go prototype as "Best Adaptation to the Times," because of the concepts lower startup-costs and smaller footprint. CiCi's will open at least one To-Go unit and six buffet locations in Southern California this year. To gear up for its westward push this year, CiCi's has hired Todd Peterson as its Los Angeles-based director of franchise sales. Peterson recently worked as vice president of development for Sizzler USA Inc., after running the franchise development department for Damon's Restaurants.

CiCi's Pizza

Founded in 1985, CiCi's Pizza is a family-oriented restaurant serving guests fresh pizza, pasta, salad and dessert, all you want for five bucks and change. CiCi's mission then and now is to exceed each guest's expectation in food, service and cleanliness at an affordable price. Since opening its first restaurant in Plano, Texas, CiCi's has grown to 650 restaurants in 30 states.

Industry professionals have taken notice of CiCi's Pizza's continuous growth and success. Recently, Franchising Business Review ranked CiCi's fourth as a top quick service restaurant choice in franchising and first in the pizza industry. Nation's Restaurant News has ranked CiCi's number one for sales and unit growth in the pizza chain category for the past three years. In its recent 2007 ranking, Entrepreneur magazine designated CiCi's as the top brand in the Italian restaurant franchise category. StartupJournal.com, The Wall Street Journal's guide for entrepreneurs, ranked CiCi's as one of the top 25 highest-performing brands in the nation and Franchise Today placed the company in the top 200 of all franchise concepts. Other honors include "Best in Value" award among national pizza chains in Restaurants and Institutions magazine's 2006 Consumers' Choice Report and "Best Customer Service" from Corporate Research International in 2007, 2006 and 2005.

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