Refreshed Cicis Pizza Heats up Franchising Focused on Growth
Cicis Pizza, an iconic brand with a fresh take on the future, is gearing up for growth, primed to expand nationally through franchising.
Reenergized and on a tech-driven roll, the Texas-based chain—backed by strong-franchisee-focused leadership—continues to build momentum with system-wide innovation and guest loyalty in mind, and it shows.
"Right now, our AUVs are higher than they've been in the last 10 years," says Jeff Hetsel, president and chief operating officer of Cicis Pizza, which has over 300 restaurants in more than 23 states.
Cicis Pizza’s rapid reemergence follows a complete restructuring and acquisition of the company in 2021 by D&G Investors, a restaurant investment, ownership, and operations team with financial muscle and a combined 60-plus years of franchise know-how.
Over the past year, Cicis Pizza has embraced technology, launching a myriad of initiatives to modernize the system, improve value and reconnect the proven brand with its loyal customers. Among them: a new, more efficient restaurant design; the launch of third-party delivery and the MyCicis app; and the return of the chain's popular Giant Pizza – bolstered by robust digital marketing.
Along with plans for a new POS system and online birthday party booking access, Cicis Pizza has also doubled down on the company's highly profitable gaming business. Franchisees who have taken advantage of enhanced game room operations at their restaurants and the opportunity to own their games have seen a 25% rise in revenue, says Hetsel. He also points to the corporate-owned distribution company JMC as a benefit franchise owners can count on in the face of rising commodity costs and supply chain issues.
For Hetsel, a 30-year Cicis Pizza veteran who runs the corporate stores and is also a franchisee, the move to modernize operations and return to the fundamental roots of the legacy brand has brought "the fun" back to doing business.
"When a company is debt-free, you can do the right thing by your team, your franchisees, and your guests," adds Hetsel. "It's just great here every day. We don't have to worry about capital for expansion. It's just doing it in a quality way at a pace that makes sense and is sustainable."
And that includes all-you-can-eat pizza and a customer-ordering program. Founded in 1985, Cicis Pizza invented the Unlimited Pizza Buffet concept, which remains relevant today as a profitable, high-quality signature of the brand.
"There's no faster fast food, and it's infinitely customizable," Hetsel says.
Hetsel believes the best answers and innovation for a franchise system happen on the local level, which is why he's been on a restaurant buying spree. The company expects to have 50 corporate-owned stores in the fold within two years to set the pace for the brand and nurture the success of its franchisees for the future.
"Cicis Pizza is in a category of one," Hetsel adds. "Our mantra around here is to have the best year we've had in 10 years, and then I want the year after that to be the best year we've ever had. I'm excited."
Ready to take your franchise portfolio to the next level? To explore your opportunity to join the Cicis Pizza family, including market availability, site selection and demographic criteria, head to franchise.cicis.com.
Cicis is an iconic, modernized restaurant that pushes the limits of the regular family dining experience. With unlimited opportunities for revenue, multiple restaurant designs and off premise-options, Cicis is constantly evolving with the industry. Learn More
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