Pasadena’s Blaze Pizza Expands Delivery Service, Tackles Domino’s Pizza in Drive for Dominance

Published : Friday, September 6, 2019 | 5:03 AM

Local Rick Wetzel, co-founder of Blaze Pizza, the fast-casual pizza brand based in Pasadena, said he’s ready to take on Domino’s Pizza, considered the pizza industry’s biggest player.

Speaking this week on Restaurant Business magazine’s podcast, “A Deeper Dive,” Wetzel said the company is ready to expand its delivery business and offer more convenience to customers who have been enjoying the quality of their pizza.

“I think there is a huge opportunity to go at Domino’s in particular, where their core benefit is convenience; it’s not the quality of the food and I think there’s a lot of people out there that care about fresher food, healthy food or a more artisanal kind of food,” Wetzel said.

At an event in New York City Wednesday night, Wetzel told Yahoo Finance, “We are ready to take on Domino’s, yes!”

Wetzel and his wife Elise, his fellow co-founder, were in New York to promote Blaze Pizza’s new larger 14-inch pizzas, and the company’s new mobile ordering/delivery app. He said finally serving large pizzas that cater to families and dialing up mobile ordering are some of the last key building blocks needed to mount a serious challenge to the Big Three in fast-food pizza: Domino’s, Papa John’s and Pizza Hut, according to the Yahoo Finance report.

Blaze Pizza has mostly focused on dine-in service since 2011. Wetzel said pizza consumption off-premise, delivered by third-party services, has increased significantly this year, and they’re looking at this as a big part of their future business.

Blaze Pizza pulled in about $$326 million in sales last year on 296 U.S. Restaurants, Yahoo Finance said, quoting data from Technomic. Comparatively, Domino’s Pizza’s total sales reached $3.4 billion in 2018 on more than 15,000 restaurants around the world.

Wetzel said Blaze Pizza plans to open 50 restaurants this year to bring the total to about 400, including its first location in the UK.

The company has already 316 locations in 42 states and five countries, many of them in the Middle East.

Wetzel said they also plan to bring Blaze Pizza to public markets and grocery stores in the next three years.

The Pasadena-based pizza chain has announced earlier this year they’ll eventually seek to raise money through an IPO. Blaze Pizza had hired a former Nestle SA executive to lead its digital growth division, a new arm of the company.

blog comments powered by Disqus