For the first time in its 28-year history, CiCi's Pizza is extending its franchise opportunity abroad. Executives with the Coppell, Texas, based franchise have specifically targeted Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico for expansion of the brand with the goal of opening the flagship international unit by 2015.

As CiCi's Pizza sets its sights on growth in key international markets, company executives are taking a careful approach to identifying master franchise partners and multi-unit franchisees with business savvy and a strong understanding of the local economy and real-estate position.

To jumpstart the international development and to meet with prospective entrepreneurs, CiCi's Pizza will exhibit at the 2013 International Franchise Expo (IFE) from Thursday, June 20, until Saturday, June 22, in New York City. The IFE will be held at the Javits Center, and CiCi's Pizza will exhibit at booth 616.

"Our unique concept and flexible prototype allows us to easily adapt to cultures new to our brand. The ability to adjust based on local consumers coupled with our emphasis on quality, variety, and value makes CiCi's internationally appealing and gives us a competitive position in the marketplace," says Thomas McCord, vice president of real estate and franchise development at CiCi's Pizza. "We've thoroughly examined viable markets within Canada, Mexico, and Puerto Rico and found that the demand for our pizza buffet concept continues to grow. In fact, the timing has never been better for CiCi's to grow internationally."

From an investor's perspective, CiCi's Pizza offers four distinct revenue streams: the custom buffet, catering, To Go orders, and the game room. Moreover, multiple prototypes are available to new franchisees designed to maximize profits for the owner and allow for penetration for improved brand availability. Restaurant design options include the traditional buffet model, To Go units, and an Express prototype currently under test.

The development into Canada, Mexico, and Puerto Rico is part of a much larger company mission to aggressively grow the brand in the coming years, which includes domestic development in underserved markets, including Los Angeles, San Diego, Salt Lake City, Washington D.C., Miami, and St. Louis. During 2013, the company will also explore growth potential in nontraditional venues such as airports, casinos, military bases, and universities.

Denise Lee Yohn: QSR's Marketing Guru, Growth, News, Pizza, CiCi's Pizza