Texas-based CiCi's Pizza continues to find record-breaking success as it expands into new franchise markets, using proprietary expos and online portals to target specific demographics and franchisees in key markets.
The chain, which has more than 600 stores in 35 states, has opened restaurants in two new states, Wisconsin and New York, in the past month and has plans to continue to build operations in new and undersaturated markets.
Vice president of franchise sales Jim Sheahan said technology is helping to drive the brand's successful expansion: For one, they've been working with a market research company to help target about 70 markets ripe with their demographic. But perhaps more intresting is the online software they're using from a newer company called Process Peak that helps assimilate strong franchisee candidates.
"The portal is our 'discovery' portal," Sheahan said. "When the franchisee inquires about a CiCi's, (they're) launched into this portal. It's a more robust system with information about CiCi's, which helps them with the discovery process."
Recent grand openings of New York's first CiCi's in DeWitt this month was the best in the company's history, according to a company statement.
"Using industry-best research practices, we've identified key markets across the country with the ideal demographic mix for CiCi's," said Sheahan. "We're actively recruiting high-quality franchisees in those markets with a combination of in-person Expos and an innovative online portal."
CiCi's Pizza has targeted several key areas for growth, including the East Coast, California, Nevada, Arizona and Florida. In July alone, CiCi's signed deals for eight new restaurant openings in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Nevada. The chain will open seven new stores by the end of September and continues to conduct franchise Expos.
"Our recent openings have been phenomenal," Sheahan said. "Given that we've had two of our highest-volume openings ever this summer, we anticipate that our new restaurants will continue to see success. Our goal is to find top-notch franchisees across the United States to build even more momentum."