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Pizza Buffet /Cici's Pizza Case Study

Updated: Aug 29, 2022

  • Was Written on June 20 2020 for MBA 512 Strategic Management Class at Stony Brook University

Discussion Question #1

What is the basis for Cici’s cost leadership position? Can competitors duplicate this basis? Explain.

The basis is of the business model and leadership at Cici’s Pizza is unique. Unlike other competitors that might offer buffest only at lunchtime, or during certain days of the week, Cici’s leads the market differently. At Cici’s buffet is offered every day at a low cost ($6) offering pizza and other limited non-pizza options (like Mac-N-Cheese at times), (Parnell, 2017). Cici’s Pizza is not focusing on the quality and taste, but the low price, convenience, and speed. Thus, Cici’s is attracting a unique client base and target market. The acknowledgment of Cici’s as a middle-of-the-road type pizza that is not the best, but is cheap and quick is a solution to some people that are looking for a cheap meal. The fact that the concept is maintained every day of the week and all day makes it trustworthy, reliable, and attractive.

With the current climate of coronavirus, the buffet might be at risk of low demand. Cici’s will have to find creative ways to maintain sales and customers.

On a personal level, it seems that the current CEO William Mitchell and the Cici's Pizza leadership team are scored a "D-" by 15 employees placing it in the Bottom 10% of companies sized in the US, (Comparably, 2020). “The Leadership Score of 49/100 is based on 76 ratings; it combines employee feedback on their CEO (64/100), Manager (51/100), and Executive Team (53/100),” (Comparably, 2020).

Discussion Question #2

What accounted for Cici’s initial rapid growth? Why did this trend reverse between 2011 and 2015?

When Cici’s Pizza was established it appealed to many people because of its simple concept, the cheap prices, and its reliability. The company began expanding. "The number of company-owned stores increased from eleven to thirty-six between 2011 and 2015,” (Parnell, 2017). In 2011 the chain faced a slower sale rate and the number of franchised stores declined from 579 to 407, (Parnell, 2017).

I believe the reasons for the decline lays on the reason that people started to value the quality of price more, and became more health concise. Also, in 2011 the U.S job market had recovered from the 2008 crisis, so people we able to afford more expensive food that is also better in taste.

Also, the company has done little effort in trying to embrace change and remain relevant. And as I learned in my sport, if you one isn't constantly moving forward, he/she is going backward, because everyone else is constantly going forward. (Liberman, 2020)

Discussion Question #3

What competitive vulnerabilities does Cici’s face?

The biggest most threatening challenge Cici’s Pizza is facing today is the fact that the buffet is in closing danger due to COVID19. Nowadays, people do not want to share the same utensils others touched – for the fear of containment with COVID. “Buffets, like many other businesses throughout the U.S., have closed out of safety precautions, and may not be able to return once the COVID-19 crisis is over,” (Nguyen, 2020). For example, in early May, the buffet chain “Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes” announced bankruptcy and that the chain will no return.



  • Parnell, J., 2017. Strategic Management: Theory And Practice. 5th ed. The University of North Carolina at Pembroke: Academic Media Solutions.

  • Cici's Pizza CEO & Leadership Team Ratings. (2020). Retrieved 20 June 2020, from

  • Nguyen, J. (2020). Can buffets survive the COVID-19 pandemic? - Marketplace. Retrieved 20 June 2020, from


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