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Cicis acquired by Arlon Group

Pizza buffet chain in fourth year of revitalization plan

The Arlon Group has acquired the pizza buffet chain Cicis, the company said Wednesday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Senior management, led by Cicis CEO Darin Harris, will remain with the Coppell, Texas-based operator, which has 440 locations in 33 states. 

“Arlon is a strong financial partner that will help us maintain the momentum we’ve achieved, accelerate our growth and fortify our revitalization strategy,” Harris said in a statement. “Arlon brings to Cici’s significant expertise and experience from its extensive investments in the food and agricultural industry.”

Cicis is in the fourth year of a revitalization plan led by Harris, who has been CEO since 2013. Unit count has fallen by about 200 locations since 2009. System sales last year were about $440 million, a slight decline from the previous year, as the company trimmed a few units, according to Nation’s Restaurant News Top 100 data.

Same-store sales have risen for 13 straight quarters under Harris, and Cicis said it recently had the best six-week period for sales in its history this summer. The company focused on improving food quality and adding upgraded items to buffets. It also launched a new prototype.

Cicis is on the verge of bolstering unit growth: The company has signed development agreements for 70 new restaurants in 50 markets.

“Cicis is a growing brand with an excellent legacy as an affordable, fun, family-friendly restaurant that provides a wide variety of quality pizzas and more,” Arlon managing principal Ben Fishman said in a statement. “The company’s dedicated, high-caliber management team has set the company on a path that is generating consistent, positive results.”

Arlon is no stranger to the restaurant industry. The New York-based investment firm focuses on the food and agricultural industries, and has a heavy presence in Latin America. It currently owns K-Mac Holdings Corp., a big franchisee of Taco Bell, KFC and Golden Corral, based in Fort Smith, Ark. Arlon also has investments in several other food and agricultural companies. 

Contact Jonathan Maze at [email protected]
Follow him on Twitter: @jonathanmaze

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