Cicis: Beyond Pizza Deploys Yext to Grow Organic Search and Increase Foot Traffic
"During the rebrand, we discovered lots of issues with our digital knowledge across the entire web — even basic names, addresses, and phone numbers were inconsistent. Hours were wrong. Locations were marked as open that were actually closed. Thanks to Yext, we are spending a lot less time doing optimization now."
Founded in 1985 with a single restaurant in Plano, Texas, this family-friendly kid-friendly restaurant brand today has over 450 restaurants in 32 states. Cicis invented the unlimited pizza buffet, and since its beginning, Cicis has pushed the limits of eating out by saying ‘yes’ to individual tastes and empowering guests to find the flavors they love.
“Our locations are a combination of corporate-owned and franchised,” explains Douglas Kwong, Director of Digital. “If you think of a pizza in a traditional setting, parents are often stuck with the type of pizza the kids want. Well not at Cicis! The kids can get what they want, the parents can get what they want, and everyone has his or her time around the table, with the food each individual wants. After that, the kids can go up to the game room so parents can have alone time. So it’s really about giving guests specifically what they want — empowering them — and giving them the opportunity to take on a flavor adventure all their own.”
In 2015, Cicis embarked on a total rebrand, first retooling the offering and then launching a new brand identity. The company updated everything from the logo — officially changing its name to Cicis: Beyond Pizza — to the website and store concept design.
“When I started at Cicis, mobile made up 60-65% of our visitors, but the website needed help,” states Kwong. “It wasn’t responsive and had our old logo so was a big piece of the rebranding focus for us. There was lots of discussion going into it, not just on look and feel, but also on ensuring everything be crawlable, easy to find, and that it incorporates enough unique and decent content.”
For Kwong, content is top priority. “Up until this point in my career, I’ve been concerned with using content to drive ecommerce. Now, in my current position here, the idea is to give customers content they can share on social. Give them content that their friends are sharing — good content that they are finding online. Make our brand more top of mind, so that when they do make a dining decision, they think of us.”
All the same, Kwong also knows that the company’s website is not where customers will make their ultimate decision. “They will go to Google and type ‘directions to Cicis’, which means our digital knowledge in Google has to be right,” he says. “During the rebrand, we discovered lots of issues with our digital knowledge across the entire web — even basic names, addresses, and phone numbers were inconsistent. Hours were wrong. Locations were marked as open that were actually closed, and people would have driven 45 minutes to learn that. It was quite an uphill battle when we first got started.”
The Yext Knowledge Engine Enabled Cicis’ Rebrand to Go Smoothly
Cicis uses the Yext Knowledge Engine to manage the public facts about its brand. The Yext Knowledge Engine enables brands like Cicis to manage the digital knowledge about their people, places, and products across their websites, mobile apps, internal systems, and the entire PowerListings® Network — over 100 maps, apps, search engines, GPS systems, and social networks including Google, Apple, Facebook, Bing, and Yahoo.
Using the Yext Knowledge Engine, Cicis relaunched its website in November 2015. Cicis today has Yext Pages in English and Spanish. Pages from Yext are built according to search engine optimization (SEO) and app SEO best practices and are designed for worldwide content delivery with maximum reliability and performance. “Then we looked at Yext Listings,” Kwong recalls. “If you look at our web pages before the rebrand, you will see we definitely needed help from a digital knowledge service.”
“Ever since we got Pages and Listings up and running, we have been able to grow organic search,” states Kwong. “Right now we are at 75% of mobile traffic coming in. Much of that can be attributed to the digital knowledge focus that we have been placing on our restaurants in the past year. Thanks to Yext, we are spending significantly less time doing optimization now.”
Since launching with Yext, Cicis’ digital a has greatly improved. Now with over 20,000 listings, the company has increased its overall listings presence by 34%. The company has corrected 14,000+ addresses and 60,000+ restaurant names. Kwong’s team has also updated 82,000+ business descriptions and 207,000+ logos and photos.
Kwong understands how important location is to Cicis’ success. “Of course, it’s easiest to put revenue dollars against foot traffic. But more than that, we say internally that each individual brings something unique to the table. We believe that’s true, and that’s what we try to offer our guests. It’s all about empowering our guests and feeding individuality. With Yext, we’re better able to attract customers online and successfully get them through our doors.”