Blaze Pizza, a pioneer in the fast-casual artisan pizza category, today announced expanded franchise growth plans based on the success of the company’s first two locations. Sales at Blaze Pizza’s Irvine location, a 2,600 square-foot space, are exceeding expectations, with consistent long lines at both lunch and dinner. The company’s recently opened flagship restaurant, located in the heart of Pasadena’s vibrant Theatre District, experienced an even stronger opening. Blaze Pizza has two additional Los Angeles-area restaurants currently under development, and expects to have at least 15 locations opened by the end of 2013.
A creation of Elise and Rick Wetzel (founder of Wetzel’s Pretzels), Blaze Pizza features a signature dough and recipes developed by Executive Chef and 20-year pizza veteran Bradford Kent, owner of Los Angeles’ top-rated Olio Pizzeria and Café. Well-known investors in Blaze Pizza include Maria Shriver, movie producer John Davis and Boston Red Sox co-owner Tom Werner.
Blaze Pizza is registered to franchise in 34 states and is now looking to partner with experienced restaurant operators for its expansion efforts. The company’s management team draws on its eighteen years of knowledge acquired through development of the Wetzel’s Pretzel’s franchise network, with more than 275 locations now open in the U.S. and abroad.
“The enthusiasm from guests both in Irvine and Pasadena has been tremendous,” said Elise Wetzel, president of Blaze Pizza. “People love the fact that they can enjoy a high quality, artisanal pizza, so quickly and affordably, in a casual, hip dining environment. Blaze Pizza is on its way to becoming a national brand.”
Blaze Pizza uses an assembly line format that lets guests customize a signature pizza or create one of their own, choosing from a wide selection of fresh, artisanal toppings, most at no extra charge. Each 11-inch pizza is then “fast-fire’d” in a blazing-hot, open-hearth oven, and is ready in less than two minutes. Blaze Pizza makes its own dough from scratch using a recipe which requires an overnight fermentation period to produce its signature light-as-air, crisp crust, and offers gluten-free dough and vegan cheese to accommodate pizza fans with specific dietary needs. The restaurant’s menu also features signature salads, lemonades, beer & wine, and house-made S’more Pies for dessert.
A creation of Elise and Rick Wetzel (founder of Wetzel’s Pretzels) and backed by investors including Maria Shriver, movie producer John Davis and Boston Red Sox co-owner Tom Werner, Blaze Pizza features the talents of Chef Bradford Kent of Olio Pizzeria & Café, who developed the dough and recipes exclusively for the company. Blaze Pizza plans to develop 15+ Southern California locations by the end of 2013, partnering with franchisees to grow the company nationally.