For the first time in its 28-year history, CiCi's Pizza is extending its franchise opportunity abroad. Executives with the Coppell, Texas-based company have specifically targeted Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico for expansion of the brand with the goal of opening the flagship international unit by 2015.

CiCi's Pizza is currently identifying master franchise partners and multiunit franchisees with business experience and a strong understanding of the local economy and real-estate position.

To jumpstart the international development and to meet with prospective entrepreneurs, CiCi's Pizza is exhibiting at the 2013 International Franchise Expo through June 22 in New York City.

"Our unique concept and flexible prototype allows us to easily adapt to cultures new to our brand. The ability to adjust based on local consumers coupled with our emphasis on quality, variety and value makes CiCi's internationally appealing and gives us a competitive position in the marketplace," said Thomas McCord, vice president of real estate and franchise development. "We've thoroughly examined viable markets within Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico and found that the demand for our pizza buffet concept continues to grow. In fact, the timing has never been better for CiCi's to grow internationally."

CiCi's Pizza offers four revenue streams: the custom buffet, catering, To Go orders and the game room. Moreover, multiple prototypes are available to new franchisees, including the traditional buffet model, To Go units and an Express prototype currently under test.

The development into Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico is part of a larger company mission to aggressively grow the brand in the coming years, which includes domestic development in underserved markets such as Los Angeles, San Diego, Salt Lake City, Washington D.C., Miami and St. Louis.

Throughout this year, the company will also explore growth potential in nontraditional venues such as airports, casinos, military bases and universities.

St. Louis expansion announced

St. Louis Today also reported that CiCi's plans to open four units in that market within the next five years. The chain is considering sites in Ferguson, Ballwin, St. Peters, St. Ann and downtown St. Louis, among others. Cici's already has pizza places in Rock Hill and south St. Louis County, Mo.

The chain has about 500 restaurants in 34 states.

Read more about franchising and growth.

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