Cicis (formerly named CiCi's Pizza) is an American chain of buffet restaurants based in Irving, Texas, specializing in pizza. The company was founded in 1985, and started franchising by 1987. There are 297 franchised and corporately owned restaurants in 24 states. In November 2015, the company began a new marketing campaign which included the renaming of the company to Cicis (by dropping the apostrophe, making the second 'C' lowercase and dropping the word ‘pizza’ from its name), along with the addition of a new logo and redesigned website. On January 25, 2021, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Plano, Texas, United States
Number of locations
|Bill Mitchell (CEO)|
|Products||Pizza, salad, pasta|
|Parent||CiCi Enterprises Inc.|
Cicis was founded in 1985 by Joe Croce and Mike Cole in Plano, Texas. In 2001, with 363 restaurants at the time, the chain expanded its buffet offerings and began remodeling restaurants. Four years later, Cicis had more than 500 locations, and was the fastest-growing pizza chain in the United States.
In 2003, Croce retired from the business, and passed ownership of the company to the company's executive team. Craig Moore, who was a general manager in Dallas, became vice president of the company, a position he held for five years before he was named president after the sale. Croce gave 20% of his proceeds to Gateway Church, where he was a member. As president of the chain, Moore oversaw the company's operations and franchise growth. Moore announced his retirement in 2009, after 17 years with the company.
Michael Shumsky, previously CEO of La Madeleine Restaurant, Inc. took over for Moore. Shumsky retired in August 2013 and Darin Harris took over as CEO of the company. Harris left the company in January 2018 and was replaced by Bill Mitchell as interim CEO. Mitchell was appointed the position permanently in March 2018.
In addition to its current restaurants, in 2010 Cicis announced plans to add another 500 restaurants in the next 10 years (with the possibility of expanding internationally into Canada and Mexico). Cicis has won numerous awards and 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. The award for worst restaurant ideas has also been awarded to the pizza chain.
In November 2015, the company began a new marketing campaign which included the simplified renaming of the company to just Cicis with the modifier "Beyond Pizza," along with the addition of a new logo and redesigned website. The campaign is aimed at proving that Cicis has more to offer than just pizza.
On January 25, 2021, Cici's filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy with between $50 million to $100 million in liabilities. The company blamed the COVID-19 pandemic in its filing, stating that it had not benefitted from delivery due to its buffet model. The previous month, the company reached an agreement to sell itself as well as its $82 million in liabilities to its primary lender, D&G Investors.
Recognition and awardsEdit
From 2004 to 2009, CiCi's Pizza held third place in the pizza category for Restaurants & Institutions' "Consumers' Choice in Chains" contest, which is judged based on consumer reviews of the competing restaurant chains. In March 2009 Men's Health gave CiCi's Pizza "top marks" in providing healthy food choices among its list of "66 major chain restaurants".
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- CiCi's Pizza founder insisted sale be an inside deal Archived October 29, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
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- "CiCi's Moore Retires - Franchise Times - October 2009 - FranchiseTimes.com". www.franchisetimes.com. Retrieved December 10, 2019.
- Abril, Danielle (July 24, 2013). "CiCi's Pizza hires Darin Harris as new CEO". www.bizjournals.com. Retrieved December 10, 2019.
- May 08, Peter Romeo on; 2018. "Cicis reveals it has a new CEO: Bill Mitchell". Restaurant Business. Retrieved December 10, 2019.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
- Zigu. "Rank 8 Cici's Pizza : Top 10 Pizza Restaurants in the World 2015". MBA Skool-Study.Learn.Share. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
- "Cicis debuts new branding". Nation's Restaurant News. November 4, 2015. Retrieved December 10, 2019.
- Valinsky, Jordan (January 26, 2021). "Pizza buffet chain Cici's files for bankruptcy". CNN. WarnerMedia. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
- "CASE SUMMARY: CiCi's Pizza Buffet Restaurant Chain RSA Provides for Conversion of Prepetition Lender D&G's Debt into New Equity".
- "Consumers' Choice in Chains Winners, 2004–2009". Restaurants & Institutions. Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. 2009. Archived from the original on December 8, 2009.
- "CiCi's Pizza Scores Top Marks on Men's Health 'Eat This, Not That!' Report Card" (Press release). Coppell, Texas. PRNewswire. March 26, 2009. Archived from the original on May 3, 2009. Retrieved April 7, 2015.