How Cicis: Beyond Pizza’s Redesign Boosted Search Volume, Foot Traffic

The restaurant chain corrected the data in over 14,000 online listings.

Family-friendly pizza buffet chain Cicis has been around since 1985. But while having those decades of history was great for brand building, it also meant that some of the restaurant’s listings were still stuck in the Reagan era — and, so, in 2015, Cicis embarked on a comprehensive redesign aimed at correcting its outdated location data and revitalizing its digital presence.

“Before, whenever people searched for some of our restaurants — or searched in some of our areas — they would just see a big list. It listed out every single restaurant, their hours, and there was not a lot of differentiating content in there,” Douglas Kwong, digital director at Cicis, explained following his session at last week’s LocationWorld conference. “The other problem was that people were going to Yelp or Foursquare and seeing a lot of outdated content. We got quite a few people who called us and complained, saying, ‘I drove 45 minutes to come to your restaurant, and it was closed. What’s going on?’ Or, ‘they’re closed down for good. The hours are wrong.'”

To address this discrepancy, Cicis leveraged Yext’s Location Cloud (full disclosure: Yext is GeoMarketing’s parent company. More details on that relationship here) to manage and update location information for each restaurant from a single dashboard — using Yext Pages and Listings specifically.

“Ever since we got Pages and Listings up and running, we have been able to grow organic search,” Kwong said. “Now, we are at 75 percent of mobile traffic coming in. Much of that can be attributed to the location data focus that we have been placing on our restaurants in the past year.” The company corrected a reported 14,000+ addresses and 60,000+ restaurant names during the redesign — and the subsequent traffic increase reflects the growing importance of location management in the fragmented mobile age.

Location En Espanol

But while correcting its listings and optimizing its presence in search rankings was a huge part of what Cicis set out to do, the company aimed to do more, Kwong said in his session. Cicis recognized that it had a large Hispanic customer base, and so it launched an app with dual English and Spanish language functionality built in. This aimed to offer the more personalized experience that today’s consumers expect when searching for restaurant locations, menu items, and more — without them having to take the time to download a secondary app.

“If I download an app and it doesn’t do exactly what I think it’s going to do, or I have to do a lot of work to try to find something, I’ll delete it,” Kwong said. “That’s not something that we wanted our customers to do. We knew that our target demographic was ethnically diverse, and a lot of the parents of our target demographic speak Spanish. They speak Spanish at home, but their kids — when they go off to work or to school — they speak predominantly English. We wanted to build an app where the kids could look at whatever things they needed to look at on the phone — maybe it’s a game, or looking at their loyalty status. But then when the device goes back to the parent and they need to find a location, they could do that all in Spanish. We didn’t want to have them download two separate apps for that. We were really just trying to make it as easy as possible for them, and [that’s something] that has been a big success.”

About The Author
Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.