Pasadena-based fast-casual pizza chain Blaze Pizza has announced the appointment of Beto Guajardo, former president of Atlanta-based Focus Brands International, as its new president and chief executive officer.
“I am incredibly energized and honored to be joining the Blaze Pizza team,” Guajardo said in a release announcing his appointment.
“This is an exciting time for the brand, and I’m eager to continue the initiatives underway to enhance restaurant excellence and provide value for our franchisees and customers. We have significant opportunities ahead, and I look forward to working with the team to accelerate our next phase of growth.”
Guajardo replaced Mandy Shaw, who served as Blaze Pizza’s CEO for five years.
Shaw did not reveal her future plans but in a LinkedIn post said she was moving on to her next journey after “wild and fulfilling” years with Blaze Pizza.
Before being promoted to his new role, Guajardo spent over three years with Focus Brands, which is the franchisor and operator of more than 6,400 restaurants and snack shops under eight brands such as Cinnabon, Auntie Anne’s, Jamba, Seattle’s Best Coffee, Moe’s Southwest Grill, McAlister’s Deli, and Schlotzsky’s.
At Focus Brands, he was also responsible for the turnaround of the 370-unit Schlotzsky’s brand.
Before joining Focus Brands, Guajardo held leadership positions at Starbucks, Levi’s Strauss & Co, Avon Cosmetics and McKinsey & Company.
“On behalf of the Brentwood team, we are excited to start the new year with Beto at the helm,” said Rahul Aggarwal, partner at Brentwood Associates. “Blaze is an important brand in our portfolio, and Beto has extensive executive level experience leading global restaurant brands and building high performing teams. I am confident that he has the experience and strategic vision to lead Blaze, its franchisees and employees to achieve new levels of success in the future.”
Founded in 2011, Blaze Pizza, is known for its savory artisanal pizzas and customizable made-to-order menu featuring fresh, natural ingredients.
It has over 330 restaurants across 38 states and six countries including Canada, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
Over the years, the franchise has received numerous accolades including Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500, as well as #1 spots on Fast Casual’s Top 100 Movers and Shakers and Franchise Times’ Fast and Serious list.
For more information, visit: blazepizza.com