CiCi’s Pizza capped off its annual leadership conference, Connection ’14 – Believe, at the Embassy Suites Hotel and Convention Center in Frisco, Texas, with its 2013 Legendary Operator and Manager of the Year awards.

Karl Busch of El Paso, Texas, who has been with CiCi’s Pizza for more than 20 years and owns and operates five restaurants, was named the 2013 Legendary Operator. He was also honored as the Large Multiunit Operator of the Year. Busch is known for instilling in his team members a so-called “jump the counter” mentality to exceed guests’ expectations, which has resulted in him being the number one multiunit operator in the system.

“For Karl, it’s guests first, not profit, always,” says CiCi’s Pizza manager Gloria Guerra. “That’s why all of the guests we have come back with a big smile, knowing that they are going to be treated like family.”

The 2013 Manager of the Year is Jack Semelsberger, of St. Louis, who has been in the CiCi’s Pizza family for nine years. Known for his continued support of local charities, schools, and other organizations through fundraising initiatives and his ability to greet guests at his Rockhill restaurant by name, Semelsberger has been dubbed the unofficial mayor of Rockhill. His attention to service has resulted in his store ranking in the top five percent of the restaurants in the system. He also averages an impressive 95 percent on operations excellence by leading manager conference calls and sharing his tools and experience to support underperforming restaurants.

“Both Karl and Jack set a great example to others within the CiCi’s family and beyond,” says CiCi’s Pizza CEO Darin Harris. “It is their passion and hard work that sets them apart, and I am honored to work alongside them. On behalf of CiCi’s Pizza, I thank them for their leadership and commitment to this brand.”

The Legendary Operator and Manager of the Year honorees are nominated by the operations team and selected by the executive team, which considers factors such as operations excellence, sales, and Guest Experience Monitor (GEM) scores.

Employee Management, News, Pizza, CiCi's Pizza