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Partners in Pizza

Program pairs investors with enthusiastic franchisees.

Cici Enterprises Inc., franchisor of 300 Cici's Pizza restaurants in 15 states, receives franchisee applications all the time. What the company looks for in prospects is the will to succeed--"a fire-breathing, run-through-walls, great attitude," says Joe Flanigan, Cici's vice president of marketing.

That's a tall order for every applicant to fill. And those who fit the bill don't always have the $253,000 to $389,500 it takes to open a Cici's Pizza.

On the other hand, there are also those who would like to invest in Cici's, but don't necessarily want to manage the restaurant themselves. Thus was born the Cici's Investor Program in 1997.

"We try to marry the two areas: those who have the money and would like to make the investment in Cici's, and those with that fire and attitude who just don't have the kind of money it takes to invest themselves," says Flanigan.

Cici's program requires the franchisee to contribute $10,000, while the investor covers the rest of the initial cash payment. The investor then receives 6 percent of the top line sales for the life of the business--the rest goes to the operator. "The beauty is, there's no picking and pulling over the [finances] in terms of expenses and so forth," Flanigan explains.

With about one-sixth of Cici's Pizzas participating in the program, there's one sure sign it's a success: In 11 years of franchising, no Cici's Pizza has ever closed.

Contact Source

Cici Enterprises Inc., (972) 389-2424

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This article was originally published in the August 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Partners in Pizza.

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