CiCi's Pizza has an ambitious plan to open about 500 new restaurants in the next 10 years. In doing so, the Texas-based chain has executed a "Build the Brand" growth strategy. In 2011, Zagat recognized CiCi's among its list of most child-friendly fast-food chains and the same year, CiCi's was named No. 1 in its category in Entrepreneur's Franchise 500 list. It has also been named one of the top 25 performing brands by The Wall Street Journal and a top 200 franchise concept by Franchise Today.
CEO Mike Shumsky has been at the helm for about three years and has refreshed some of the designs and offerings for the 27-year-old brand. Last year, CiCi's opened a unit in Murphy, Texas, that showcased some of these changes, including new menu boards, new uniforms, new happy hour pricing, a brighter color palette, a larger pizza buffet and an expanded carryout area.
"One of first things I did when I came on board was ramp up this reimaging campaign, getting the existing units up to the current image. We have to be relevant," Shumsky said. "We have different plates, equipment – which makes our staff more productive, uniforms, menu boards. We have also added a significant carryout business."
The goal is to get that carryout business to about 20 percent of sales. Shumsky said this will add convenience, and will ultimately help CiCi's as it enters new markets. There is also a new "small town model," which includes the signature buffet setup, but in a smaller footprint.
"We want to have models across the spectrum of needs. This is how we catch up to other brands," Shumsky said.
CiCi's also plans on emphasizing new products, adding more variety and flavor to its buffet. It has already introduced unique offerings through its American Classics line, which included a Philly Cheesesteak Pizza and a Cheeseburger Pizza.
"We're a pizza concept. Our goal is to just produce an awesome, quality pizza and provide it in a great environment and serve our guests well," Shumsky said. "It doesn't need to be more complicated than that."
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