COPPELL, Texas, Feb. 1, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — CiCi’s Pizza, home of the custom pizza buffet, announced today its 2012 growth plans to support its continuing 10-year “Build the Brand” initiative to add 500 new restaurants by 2020. Progress in 2011 included 22 new restaurant openings representing a nearly 25 percent increase in new locations over the previous year, and multiple new partnerships to accelerate expansion.

“As we enter year three of our ‘Build the Brand’ strategy, we are gaining significant momentum with the new partnerships and tools we’ve put in place,” said CiCi’s Pizza CEO Mike Shumsky. “2012 is a pivotal year as we move from the planning stages to deployment of our 10-year program in new and existing markets.”

Upcoming initiatives for 2012 include:

New products will be introduced quarterly to CiCi’s custom buffet. Recently hired culinarian Rebecca Stone, who serves as senior director of food and beverage, will oversee development of new menu items.

A new advertising campaign, the first with new agency of record Publicis Dallas, breaks in mid-February to introduce a new signature pizza to CiCi’s buffet and to highlight CiCi’s variety and value offerings.

A redesigned interactive website at , developed by nFusion, launches in early February.

A new site model, developed in partnership with Birchwood Resultants, rolls out in early February to help franchisees maximize growth potential through better real estate selection and restaurant design.

A test of online ordering with ONOSYS begins in select markets in the second quarter.

Kitchen efficiencies, designed to lower franchise investment costs, reduce waste and increase ROI, will be directed by Clif Geisler, recently hired as CiCi’s director of operational systems.

Franchise incentive programs designed for new and existing operators will launch in mid-February as well as a new program to help U.S. military veterans become CiCi’s franchisees.

New financing options through companies such as Boefly and others are being offered.

CiCi’s will continue its focus on restaurant design improvement in 2012. Last year, CiCi’s debuted a new 4,000-square-foot test restaurant in Murphy, Texas, equipped with features that may be incorporated into future restaurants such as an extended buffet line, redesigned salad bar, expanded menu boards, new carryout options and new color scheme and decor. Additionally, 41 existing restaurants were re-imaged, bringing more than 80 percent of the system up to date with the brand’s new look and feel. In 2012, the company will test a redesigned to-go-only restaurant as well as restaurants with smaller footprints for small towns or urban areas.

To fuel CiCi’s Pizza’s growth in 2012, the company is actively seeking qualified multi-unit and single-unit operators to help grow the brand in Southern California, the Mid-Atlantic, Northeast and South Florida, as well as select cities in Texas and other regions across the nation. Prospective franchisees benefit from an approximate 2-to-1 sales-to-investment ratio and four distinct revenue streams: the custom buffet, catering, to-go orders and a game room.

“CiCi’s is passionate about exceeding guests’ expectations, and these new programs allow us to apply that same commitment of tremendous service and support to our franchise candidates,” said CiCi’s Pizza Chief Development Officer Bill Spae. “This approach is key as we strengthen our presence in the new markets we entered last year while continually improving our offering to support mature market growth.”

About CiCi’s Pizza

Coppell, Texas-based CiCi’s Pizza opened its first restaurant in Plano, Texas, in 1985 and is now one of the nation’s fastest growing pizza chains. The family-oriented restaurant, known for its pizza, pasta, salad, soup and dessert buffet, has about 600 restaurants in 35 states. In 2011, Zagat recognized CiCi’s on its list of most child-friendly fast-food chains, and Entrepreneur named CiCi’s first in its category on the Franchise 500 list. In 2010, CiCi’s was named to Inc. Magazine’s top 5,000 list, and to Parents’ list of top family-friendly restaurants. Nation’s Restaurant News ranked CiCi’s No. 1 in sales and unit growth among pizza chains for the past four years.

For more information about CiCi’s, visit or .

Franchisees are required to demonstrate a minimum of $250,000 in liquid capital, a net worth of $750,000 per unit, and a credit score of 700 or higher. For more information on franchising, visit or call 972-745-9316.

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