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FDD Talk 2016: The Cicis (Formerly CiCi’s Pizza) Franchise Opportunity (Financial Performance Analysis, Estimated Costs, and Other Important Stuff You Need to Know)

by Franchise Chatter on May 31, 2016

in FDD Talk 2017: Food Franchises, Franchise Earnings, Pizza Franchises



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Cicis New Prototype

In this FDD Talk 2016 post, you’ll learn the following:

  • Section I – Background information on the Cicis franchise opportunity, including relevant news updates
  • Section II – Estimated initial investment for a Cicis franchise, based on Item 7 of the company’s 2016 FDD
  • Section III – Presentation and analysis of Cicis’ financial performance representations, based on Item 19 of the company’s 2016 FDD, including information on the:
  • 2015 average sales, food and paper costs, team labor, management salaries, taxes and benefits, operating expenses, advertising, videos/other income, occupancy costs, and restaurant EBITDA for the 18 company-owned Cicis Restaurants in the Dallas/Ft. Worth and Austin, Texas markets that were open and operating for at least 18 months before December 27, 2015 and that the company operated during the entire period of its fiscal year ended December 27, 2015
  • 2015 average, high, and low gross sales for the 420 franchised and company-owned Cicis Restaurants (divided into 3 categories according to sales volume) open and operating for at least 18 months before December 27, 2015 and in operation during the entire period of the company’s 2015 fiscal year

Section I – Background Information

Cicis Goes ‘Beyond Pizza’ With Name Change, Makeover

Cicis may have dropped the apostrophe and the word “Pizza” from its former name of Cici’s Pizza, but its primary focus is still pizza. The renaming, the new logo and the revamped website, though, is meant to show that Cicis is about more than pizza.

Indeed, the chain’s new motto is “Beyond Pizza.”

New Look Launched at Texas Restaurant

The change also involves a makeover in the form of a colorful, modernized restaurant redesign that launched in February 2016 in Frisco, Texas. There, yellow entrance walls made way for bright-red tiles, and the older palette of hunter green, mustard yellow and burgundy were replaced by more vibrant yellows and greens to communicate freshness.

Other changes include light-emitting diode lighting at the salad bar, colorful partitions in the open dining room, a party table near a new game room, and bar-height tables and chairs to join regular-height seating.

The Frisco location saw its same-store sales improve by 30 percent within two weeks after the change.

“The Frisco restaurant is up 30 percent in same-store sales after its first two weeks of re-opening, with no marketing support,” CEO Darin Harris said in a news release. “We attribute this to everything working together, from our updated and improved food quality on the buffet, to our new Stuffed Crust and Flatbread Pizzas, to this great restaurant design. Word is spreading fast that Cicis is stepping up its game.”

Seven Cicis restaurants have also been upgraded with elements of the new look.

Revamped Menu Features Stuffed-Crust Pizza, Flatbreads

A revamped menu is part of the changes Cicis is making in the reboot. Stuffed-crust pizza, previously a limited-time offering, has been added to the permanent menu, along with flatbreads, which come in chicken bacon club, honey barbecue chicken and spinach Alfredo flavors.

Chain Got Its Start in 1985

Cicis, founded by Joe Croce and Mike Cole in 1985 in Plano, Texas, is based in Coppell, Texas. Its parent company is Cici Enterprises Inc. The chain, which pioneered all-you-can-eat pizza buffets, offers buffets featuring pizzas, pastas, salads and desserts.

The company started franchising in 1987 and has restaurants in 32 states.

Chain Rises in Franchise 500

Cicis ranked 227th on Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 list. Up from a low of No. 269 in 2015, the 2016 ranking is the first time the chain has risen in ranking since achieving its highest rank of 67 in 2011. Unit numbers have dropped, too, from a high of 639 stores at the end of 2009 to 441 at the end of 2015.

Cicis Breaks $1 Million Mark in Annual Average Unit Volume

Cicis announced in January 2016 that same-store sales growth helped the chain reach its highest annual average unit volume in two decades, breaking the $1 million mark. The weekly average unit volumes improved to $19,400.

Same-store sales have increased by 7.3 percent in the past two years.

Harris said the rise can be attributed chiefly to better relationships with franchisees, a stronger focus on product quality improvement, deeper understanding of the company’s core customers, and an enhanced marketing strategy.

Section II – Estimated Costs

  • Please click here for detailed estimates of Cicis franchise costs, based on Item 7 of the company’s 2016 FDD (updated).

Section III – Financial Performance Representations (Item 19, 2016 FDD) and Analysis



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