CiCi's Pizza has announced the launch of the CiCi's Patriot Program to offer veterans a path to business ownership.

As part of the program, the company will waive its franchise fee for the first restaurant, as well as 50-percent royalty fee reduction for the first full year in operation for all qualified, honorably discharged U.S. veterans. This totals to an approximate savings of $58,000.

"We are very thankful to the brave soldiers who put their lives at risk and sacrificed so much to serve and protect our country," said Bill Spae, chief development officer at CiCi's Pizza. "To express our gratitude and deepen our brand's commitment to veterans, we have developed one of the industry's best, most comprehensive veteran's franchise incentive programs."

Veterans enrolled in CiCi's Patriot Program are required to hire a manager who is also an honorably discharged veteran in an effort to create more jobs for the veteran community.

Additionally, CiCi's Pizza will support the veteran franchisee to obtain his or her Certified Franchise Executive (CFE) designation through the International Franchise Association (IFA).

CiCi's has also agreed to support Sprigster's "Boost a Hero" program, the nation's only crowdfunding platform focused exclusively on franchising, to further help veterans raise the necessary capital needed to gain business ownership.

Franchise incentive programs for veterans, as well as non-veteran new and existing operators, are one of CiCi's initiatives for 2012 as the company continues to grow toward its goal of 500 new restaurants by 2020.

Currently the company is seeking operators for markets in Southern California, the Mid-Atlantic, Northeast and South Florida, as well as select cities in Texas and other regions across the U.S.

Read more about franchising and growth.

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