CiCi's Pizza, home of the endless pizza buffet, recently set a precedent for creative equity partnership with the launch of the 2013 Franchisee Partner Investment program.

CiCi’s Pizza created a special fund to break down the barriers of franchise financing and stimulate new restaurant development. For qualified new and existing multi-unit operators who sign a development agreement, CiCi’s Pizza will commit $100,000 of equity per store; the franchisee is required to invest a minimum of $125,000 per store. The program is available in select U.S. markets and applies only to new or existing multi-unit franchisees that will develop two or more new restaurants within five years.

To further introduce the incentive program to investors and entrepreneurs, executives with CiCi’s Pizza will exhibit at the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference in Las Vegas from Monday, November 4, through Wednesday, November 6, 2013. The Restaurant Finance & Development Conference will be held at the Wynn Las Vegas, and CiCi’s Pizza will exhibit at booth 723.

“Every franchisee wants to know that their franchisor has skin in the game, and there is no better way to show how confident we are in our business model than to invest alongside our franchise partners,” says Thomas McCord, VP of real estate and franchise development at CiCi’s Pizza. “This program provides the franchisee the ability to secure financing with a 40 percent equity position.”

CiCi’s Pizza also offers an additional incentive to those franchisees who pay back the corporate investment early. In doing so, CiCi’s will reinvest those funds with the franchisee in their next store.

The new investment program is part of the company’s overall strategy to spur growth in new or underserved markets, including Los Angeles, San Diego, Salt Lake City, Washington D.C., Chicago, Miami, and St. Louis. Looking to attract multi-unit operators with proven restaurant experience, CiCi’s Pizza offers four distinct revenue streams: the custom buffet, catering, to go, and the game room. Varying business prototypes, ranging from 1,200 to 3,600 square feet, also allow franchisees to maximize their market penetration and profitability.

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