CiCi's Pizza has created an "equity partnership" with its franchisees through the launch of its 2013 Franchisee Partner Investment program.

As part of the program, CiCi's created a special fund to help with franchise financing and stimulate new restaurant development. For qualified new and existing multiunit operators who sign a development agreement, CiCi's will commit $100,000 of equity per store; the franchisee is required to invest a minimum of $125,000 per store.

The program is available in select U.S. markets and applies only to new or existing multiunit franchisees that will develop two or more new restaurants within five years.

"Every franchisee wants to know that their franchisor has skin in the game, and there is no better way to show how confident we are in our business model than to invest alongside our franchise partners," said Thomas McCord, vice president of Real Estate and Franchise Development at CiCi's Pizza. "This program provides the franchisee the ability to secure financing with a 40-percent equity position."

CiCi's is also offering an additional incentive to those franchisees who pay back the corporate investment early. By doing so, the company will reinvest those funds with the franchisee in their next store.

The new investment program is part of the company's overall strategy to spur growth in new or underserved markets, including Los Angeles, San Diego, Salt Lake City, Washington D.C., Miami and St. Louis.

CiCi's Pizza offers four revenue streams: the custom buffet, catering, To Go and the game room. Varying business prototypes (ranging from 1,200 to 3,600 square feet) also offer flexibility for franchisees.

Read more about franchising and growth.

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