Pasadena-Headquartered Blaze Pizza’s Growth is On Fire, First International Expansion Announced

Published : Wednesday, February 28, 2018 | 6:41 AM

Blaze PizzaBlaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza, a Pasadena-based fast-casual artisanal pizza chain that’s backed by basketball star LeBron James and is among the hottest food brands in the United States, is expanding outside North America for the first time, aiming to open its first overseas shop in Kuwait in March.

Blaze Pizza CEO Jim Mizes said the chain signed a partnership with M.H. Alshaya Co. last year to pave the way for the company’s international expansion. Blaze Pizza is now looking to expand to Mexico, Asia and Europe, Mizes told Bloomberg.

In July 2017, the company announced it had entered into an exclusive development agreement with the Kuwait-based M.H. Alshaya Co. to build and operate multiple Blaze Pizza restaurants across the Middle East and Northern Africa.

The agreement would lead to the opening of as many as 100 restaurants in 11 countries, among them Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Egypt and Morocco. The first five restaurants were scheduled to open this year in Kuwait and the UAE, the announcement had said.

The Alshaya deal represents the largest development deal in the brand’s history.

Blaze Pizza aims to lead the market for fast-casual pizza and is known for fresh ingredients and the use of a Chipotle-style build-your-own-pizza assembly line. Last year, Blaze Pizza’s system sales jumped about 51 percent, according to the Bloomberg report Tuesday.

The goal is “global domination in the fast-casual pizza space,” Mizes said in the report.

“There are many more countries we are going to plant our flag in,” he added.

LeBron James invested in the company in 2012 and walked away from an endorsement deal with the McDonald’s restaurant chain in 2015 so he could become Blaze’s brand ambassador.

Blaze has announced a goal to reach 1,000 stores and go public as soon as 2022.

This year, it is projecting sales to go up between three and five percent. The company looks to maintain growth by updating its menu and is testing a half-pizza and salad option, along with cheese-stuffed dough knots, Bloomberg said.

To learn more about Blaze Pizza, visit www.blazepizza.com.

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