CiCi's Pizza Awards Unprecedented Gift to One Outstanding Manager

General Manager turns Franchise Owner Based on Hard Work and Dedication to Extraordinary Service

COPPELL, Texas, April 28 // PRNewswire // -- CiCi's Pizza invested in one of their own general managers by awarding him with the American dream - his own franchise. In an unprecedented move in the restaurant industry, CiCi's Pizza awarded Phil Santucci with his own restaurant because of his unwavering commitment to WOW-ing guests in his role as general manager and his dedication to upholding CiCi's standards of superior service.

Santucci, from Naples, Florida, will be a joint venture partner with CiCi's as he opens his first unit. Santucci was one of 60 distinguished managers CiCi's rewarded with a four-day Caribbean cruise, and he returned home as the ultimate winner.

"At CiCi's, we want to prove to our managers that hard work and dedication really does pay off. These stellar managers have proven their commitment to achieving their personal bests, a drive that shines through in their restaurant's performance," said Craig Moore, president and CEO of CiCi's Pizza. "Phil is now ready for that next step, owning a franchise of his own. We're proud to be able to help him achieve that goal and assist him with realizing the American dream."

Santucci was selected based largely on his track record of WOW-ing guests. Feedback in the form of stories and comments from guests, all of whom noticed him going above and beyond in providing the kind of customer service CiCi's guests have come to expect.

The WOW factor was the main criteria used to choose all 60 cruise winners. Additionally, CiCi's looked at:


  • Positive sales growth

  • Operations performance

  • Mystery shopper scores



The WOW Cruise contest motivated not only those selected managers, but the entire system as guest comments and WOW stories doubled overall and the system's CRI scores reached an all time high of 93.7 in 2008, a powerful statistic considering the challenging economic time the restaurant industry faced. Additionally, the top 60 managers were able to build sales at a rate eight times higher than the average CiCi's. From 2008's group of top 60 managers, seven were approved as operators, four of who are now operating a unit, one who is searching for his first site and one who opened a new location as a first time franchisee.

CiCi's 2009 review and selection is in progress for the WOW cruise setting sail September 25, 2009. Again, the elite, top 10 percent of general managers will be awarded with a cruise ticket and potentially come home an owner of a franchise.

Founded in 1985, CiCi's Pizza is a family-oriented restaurant serving guests fresh pizza, pasta, salad and dessert, all you want for about 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 almost 650 restaurants in 30 states.

Industry professionals have taken notice of CiCi's Pizza's continuous growth and success. 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 2009 ranking, Entrepreneur magazine's Annual Franchise Top 500 issue, ranked CiCi's Pizza as number one in the Italian restaurant industry category an honor the company also received in 2007. Men's Health recently included CiCi's Pizza in its list of America's Healthiest Restaurants. 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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