CiCi Enterprises LP debuted new branding for its buffet-pizza chain Wednesday, executives said.
The new branding — Cicis — removes the chain name’s apostrophe and replaces the previous tagline of “Better. Believe It.” with “Beyond Pizza.”
Darin Harris, CEO of the Coppell, Texas-based operator, said a new, streamlined logo modernizes the brand’s look and colors, and prepares it for future prototype units.
“We’ve been going through the process of brand revitalization, and this is just one of the stages of that process where we start to work on our menu and our facilities,” Harris told Nation’s Restaurant News. “The logo is one of the next steps in modernizing our facilities. We want to push this through the rest of our brand over time.”
The branding appears on all digital assets, including a redesigned website, and will be rolled out to signage and paper goods, said Sarah McAloon, Cicis chief marketing officer. In addition to the new brand identity, the website features a responsive design to better accommodate mobile users.
“Customers and franchisees wanted us to be more contemporary with our brand, and for us to be more innovative with our food,” McAloon said. “We’re not just a pizza place. We go way beyond that in terms of food categories, with salad, pasta and desserts. And the experience is way beyond a regular pizza experience.”
Cicis gaming areas for children are also becoming better incorporated into unit designs, McAloon said. “We’re treating the game room as part of the experience,” she said.
The new branding will be phased into restaurant designs, with its first use in signage at a restaurant Killeen, Texas, by the end of the year, Harris added.
“We will do a new-store build from ground up in first quarter of next year,” he said.
McAloon said new units will include more of a scatter-bar approach, rather than a single buffet line. “We want to evolve from the one-line buffet to a series of stations,” she said.
Designs call for separate areas for pastas, salads and desserts in their own modules or stations. Cicis worked with Sterling Rice Group of Boulder, Colo., for the new branding, and with Back Lot Productions of Atlanta to take the identity to a new prototype unit, the company said.
In the meantime, franchised units coming up for renewal will also start incorporating the new brand identity. “We have a significant number of our stores coming up for renewal over the next few years,” Harris said. “We’d like to see this transition in the next three to five years.”
Harris said the corporate team has been working closely with franchisees.
“We’ve partnered with our franchisees every step of the way to make sure that we take into account the heritage of the 30 years the brand has had and what has worked throughout those years,” he said. “We want to make sure we meet the economic needs of our franchisees and our guests.”
As part of the process, the company has worked to reduce the footprint of its restaurants. Traditional units have measured 4,000 to 4,500 square feet, with 150 to 200 seats. “We reduced that [to] 2,800 to 3,200 [square feet,] with between 75 to 120 seats,” Harris said.
In the most recent Nation’s Restaurant News Top 100 census, Cicis ranked No. 93 among chains in terms of U.S. systemwide sales, with an estimated $441.6 million for the fiscal year ended December 2014, a slight increase from $441 million the preceding year.
Cicis has about 450 restaurants in 32 states.
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