When the new CiCi’s Pizza location opened in Murphy, Texas, last Monday, it introduced a range of new design elements and features that could offer a peek into the future of the company.
The new unit sports a brighter color palette; new uniforms and menuboards; an expanded buffet and carryout; and even a new pricing structure.
Mike Shumsky, CEO of CiCi’s, says the company has undergone a reimaging the last two years that has transformed roughly 85 percent of its stores. But the Murphy location represents a whole new phase of branding.
“We have to look out further,” Shumsky says. “By talking to franchisees and trying to understand what the next image will look like for CiCi’s, we developed this team that came together and built a company store, obviously trying to use our own resources and not use a franchisee’s resources.”
On top of its brighter color scheme, the Murphy unit also features many wood, glass, and ceramic-tile elements that Shumsky says give it a “higher-end” finish.
“The finishes were important; we’re looking to have more adaptive finishes that adapt more to the local community and lifestyle of that community and economics of that community,” he says, adding that this includes local sports team memorabilia.
A new menuboard greets CiCi’s customers at the Murphy location, updating the simple display that other stores feature.
“We have a very simple menu—it’s basically a one-price menu,” Shumsky says. “An adult buffet, a child buffet, an adult drink, and a child drink. It’s worked for many years, but the consumer, we learned, wanted more than that, so we wanted to add some elements to the menuboard.”
One of these elements is the new pricing structure. The menuboard now showcases three different buffet prices: $4.99 for lunch, $5.49 for dinner, and a $3.99 happy hour special from 2–4 p.m.
The new menuboard also showcases more drink sizes, combo offerings, and additional real estate dedicated to the concept’s carryout options.
Shumsky says the changes were designed with input from franchisees, and that many franchisees have given positive feedback on the new store. Still, he says it will be six or seven months before the company will be able to decide “whether we want to make it a part of our ongoing prototype.”
“The brand needs to move forward—you can’t sit still,” Shumsky says. “In order to be competitive in this environment, all of us have to keep pushing forward, and we think that’s an important part of this campaign."
By Sam Oches