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Cicis Pizza
Founded1985; 38 years ago (1985)
Plano, Texas, United States
FoundersJoe Croce
Mike Cole
HeadquartersCoppell, Texas
Number of locations
299 (2023)[1]
Key people
Jeff Hetsel (CEO)
ProductsPizza, salad, pasta
ParentCiCi Enterprises Inc. Edit this at Wikidata

Cicis is an American chain of buffet restaurants based in Coppell, Texas,[2] specializing in pizza. The company was founded in 1985, and started franchising by 1987.[3] There are 299 franchised and corporately owned restaurants in 24 states.[4] 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.


A CiCi's Pizza restaurant in Brooklyn, Ohio in February 2013. This location closed in 2020.

Cicis was founded in 1985 by Joe Croce and Mike Cole in Plano, Texas.[5][6] In 2001, with 363 restaurants at the time, the chain expanded its buffet offerings and began remodeling restaurants.[6] Four years later, Cicis had more than 500 locations, and was the fastest-growing pizza chain in the United States.[7]

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.[8] As president of the chain, Moore oversaw the company's operations and franchise growth.[9] Moore announced his retirement in 2009, after 17 years with the company.[9][10]

CiCi's macaroni and cheese pizza

Michael Shumsky, previously CEO of La Madeleine Restaurant, Inc. took over for Moore.[9][10] Shumsky retired in August 2013 and Darin Harris took over as CEO of the company.[11] Harris left the company in January 2018 and was replaced by Bill Mitchell as interim CEO.[12] Mitchell was appointed the position permanently in March 2018.[12]

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.[13]

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.[14]

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.[15][16] On March 16, 2021, Cicis emerged from bankruptcy and completed its sale to D&G Investors, an affiliate of SSCP Management and Gala Capital Partners.[17]

Recognition and awards[edit]

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.[18] 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".[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Pizza Near Me – Find a Cicis Pizza Location". Retrieved April 29, 2022.
  2. ^ Revitalized Cicis Steps up New Restaurant Openings." Cicis Pizza. Retrieved February 11, 2016.
  3. ^ "Cicis Franchise Information". Entrepreneur. Retrieved April 8, 2020.
  4. ^ Harris, Darin. "Beyond Pizza: Cicis Overhauls Its 30-Year-Old Brand from the Ground Up". Retrieved April 8, 2020.
  5. ^ Voorhis, Dan (July 6, 2002). "Fast Growing Dallas Pizza Chain to Open Store in Wichita, Kan". The Wichita Eagle. Retrieved September 20, 2009.
  6. ^ a b Quinn, Steve (October 5, 2001). "Locally based pizza chain is pursuing growth Cici's launches a new look and expands its trademark buffet". Dallas News. Retrieved September 20, 2009.
  7. ^ Shlachter, Barry (July 5, 2005). "CiCi's budget buffets propel company to fastest-growing pizza chain". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Retrieved September 20, 2009.
  8. ^ CiCi's Pizza founder insisted sale be an inside deal Archived October 29, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ a b c "President of CiCi's Pizza Set to Retire". QSR magazine. August 24, 2009. Retrieved December 10, 2019.
  10. ^ a b "CiCi's Moore Retires - Franchise Times - October 2009 -". Retrieved December 10, 2019.
  11. ^ Abril, Danielle (July 24, 2013). "CiCi's Pizza hires Darin Harris as new CEO". Retrieved December 10, 2019.
  12. ^ a b Romeo, Peter (May 8, 2018). "Cicis reveals it has a new CEO: Bill Mitchell". Restaurant Business. Retrieved December 10, 2019.
  13. ^ Zigu. "Rank 8 Cici's Pizza : Top 10 Pizza Restaurants in the World 2015". MBA Skool-Study.Learn.Share. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  14. ^ "Cicis debuts new branding". Nation's Restaurant News. November 4, 2015. Retrieved December 10, 2019.
  15. ^ Valinsky, Jordan (January 26, 2021). "Pizza buffet chain Cici's files for bankruptcy". CNN. WarnerMedia. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
  16. ^ "CASE SUMMARY: CiCi's Pizza Buffet Restaurant Chain RSA Provides for Conversion of Prepetition Lender D&G's Debt into New Equity".
  17. ^ Maze, Jonathan (March 16, 2021). "Cicis Pizza quickly emerges from bankruptcy with new owners". Retrieved December 30, 2022.
  18. ^ "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.
  19. ^ "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.

External links[edit]