Pasadena-based Blaze Pizza has named former movie theater and hotel executive Vince Szwajkowski, chief marketing officer, and Rick Gestring, chief restaurant officer,
Gestring formerly served as vice president at Dunkin’ Brands, chief restaurant officer.
Gestring will oversee restaurant operations and innovation, across both corporate and franchise, to drive extensive and sustainable growth. At Dunkin’ Brands he led all aspects of operation systems and guest experience for more than 8,500 locations. He was also one of the engineers behind the revamped guest experience and brand relaunch for Arby’s at 1,200 company-owned, and over 2,200 franchise locations.
“Culture is so important to me, and at Blaze, culture and purpose is at the core of everything we do,” Gestring said in the release. “I’m inspired by the people behind the pizza, and the journey we are embarking on together with our guests and franchisees.”
Pasadena has two Blaze Pizza restaurants, one on Colorado Boulevard and one in Renaissance Plaza.
Blaze Pizza CEO Mandy Shaw, said she was thrilled to add world-class marketing to the company, pizzamarket.com reported.
“Both Vince and Rick have extensive experience in building culturally relevant brands and evolving the guest journey,” Shaw said. “I’m confident that they will be pivotal in taking us into the next stages of growth.”
Szwajkowski worked for ArcLight Cinemas and Hilton Hotels. and was responsible for development, planning, and execution of all digital, marketing, and brand strategy.
He is also charged with deepening the company’s lifestyle brand image and strategic innovation.
“Blaze has built its reputation on disrupting the pizza space through its unique customer-centric concept and devoted following,” Szwajkowski said in a press release.
“The brand is driven by stellar leadership and engaged franchisees and I am thrilled to join Mandy and the unbelievably talented team she has assembled as we grow and accelerate Blaze as an innovative lifestyle brand,” he said.