Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza, the nation’s largest and fastest growing build-your-own pizza chain, today announced that its 40th restaurant is set to open next month in San Diego, CA. The fast-casual pizza chain, known for its chef-driven recipes and casually hip restaurants, also announced that it has signed nine new area development agreements that will add 67 franchise restaurants to its pipeline. In total, Blaze Pizza now has commitments to open 315 company-owned and franchised units in 33 states and Washington, D.C.
The first Blaze Pizza restaurant opened on August 6, 2012 in Irvine, CA — just over two years ago. This year, the company has expanded into new markets outside of its Los Angeles area base. With the opening of the 40th location, Blaze Pizza will be operating restaurants in 11 states including the major metropolitan areas of Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. For the remainder of the year, the company is on track to open one new restaurant every four days — adding locations in existing markets, while also expanding into four new states.
Blaze Pizza is developing the brand with both company-owned and franchised units. The typical Blaze franchisee has previous multi-unit restaurant experience — and many currently operate units for Panera Bread, Buffalo Wild Wings, Chili’s, Five Guys or Yum! Brands. With the addition of the nine new franchise partners, Blaze Pizza now has more than 30 franchisees developing the brand in 36 of the top 50 media markets. Of the 315 units in the pipeline, approximately 125 are planned to be open by the end of 2015.
“We lead the category in both number of locations and rate of growth,” said Jim Mizes, president and COO of Blaze Pizza. “More importantly, we lead the category in defining the best overall guest experience — which includes exceptional pizza, lightning fast speed of service and appealing restaurant design. We believe that our focused attention against these three key areas will help Blaze Pizza to not only differentiate itself, but also to deliver the highest average unit sales volumes in the category.”
Blaze Pizza is a modern day “pizza joint” known for its custom-built artisanal pizzas, freshly made salads, blood orange lemonade and s’more pies. Each restaurant features an interactive assembly-line format that allows guests to customize one of the menu’s signature pizzas or create their own, choosing from a wide selection of fresh, artisanal ingredients — all for under $8. The generously-sized 11-inch pizzas are then sent to a blazing hot open-flame oven — the centerpiece of the restaurant — where dedicated pizzasmiths ensure that the thin-crust pies are fast-fire’d and ready to eat in just 180 seconds. Each restaurant makes its own dough from scratch using a recipe developed by critically-acclaimed Executive Chef Bradford Kent (“The Pizza Whisperer”), which requires a 24-hour fermentation period to produce his signature light-as-air, crisp crust. For pizza fans with specific dietary needs, Blaze Pizza offers gluten-free dough and vegan cheese.
Described by Zagat as “One of 10 Innovative Restaurants in Los Angeles,” Blaze Pizza is developing a cult following as it expands across the U.S. The prototypical restaurant is 2,400 square feet with seating for about 60 guests. Founded by Elise and Rick Wetzel (co-founder of Wetzel’s Pretzels), the concept is backed by investors including LeBron James, Maria Shriver, Boston Red Sox co-owner Tom Werner and movie producer John Davis. For more information, please visit blazepizza.com and facebook.com/blazepizza.