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CiCi's Pizza has announced its new investment and financing programs to help existing and prospective franchisees with funding options to further address the challenges of today's lending environment.

The new programs are part of the CiCi's "Build the Brand" initiative to add 500 new restaurants by 2020.

Through its Franchisee Investment Program, CiCi's has allocated $5 million to provide select qualified multi-unit franchisees with the necessary funds to open a minimum of five restaurants. CiCi's will invest $100,000 per restaurant toward development and, in doing so, the company will become a non-voting minority shareholder.

After certain financial milestones are met, CiCi's will roll over the initial $100,000 into the development of a second restaurant.

"As the restaurant industry begins to show signs of improvement, we recognize a growing optimism among operators and a desire to expand their portfolios," said Forbes Anderson, CiCi's Pizza chief financial officer. "We created the Franchisee Investment Program to provide experienced multi-unit operators with the direct access to credit they need in order to develop new restaurants."

CiCi's has created several financing and incentive programs for existing franchisees who are focused on accelerating new openings within the current year or increasing multi-unit operators' annual development schedules. These benefits include reduced franchise and royalty fees, as well as potential to receive a franchise fee refund for those who meet the specific program guidelines.

The company also announced its CiCi's Patriot Program last month to increase business ownership and job opportunities for veterans. For qualified, honorably discharged veterans, CiCi's will waive the franchise fee for the first restaurant and offer 50 percent off royalty fees for the first full year of operation, a savings of approximately $58,000.

CiCi's Pizza is actively seeking multi-unit and single-unit operators to grow in Southern California, the Mid-Atlantic, the 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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