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FDD Talk 2016: The Blaze Pizza Franchise Opportunity (Financial Performance Analysis, Estimated Costs, and Other Important Stuff You Need to Know)

by Franchise Chatter on July 18, 2016

in Fast Casual Restaurant Franchise, FDD Talk 2017: Food Franchises, Franchise Earnings, Pizza Franchises



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In this FDD Talk 2016 post, you’ll learn the following:

  • Section I – Background information on the Blaze Pizza franchise opportunity, including relevant news updates
  • Section II – Estimated initial investment for a Blaze Pizza franchise, based on Item 7 of the company’s 2016 FDD
  • Section III – Presentation and analysis of Blaze Pizza’s financial performance representations, based on Item 19 of the company’s 2016 FDD, including information on the:
  • 2015 average gross sales for the 47 franchised Blaze Pizza Restaurants that had been in operation for at least 1 calendar year ending December 31, 2015
  • 2015 average gross sales for the 3 corporate Blaze Pizza Restaurants that had been in operation for at least 1 calendar year ending December 31, 2015
  • 2015 average gross sales for the 9 franchised Blaze Pizza Restaurants that had been in operation for at least 2 calendar years ending December 31, 2015
  • 2015 average gross sales for the 1 corporate Blaze Pizza Restaurant that had been in operation for at least 2 calendar years ending December 31, 2015

Section I – Background Information

Blaze Pizza Turns Up the Heat

Blaze Pizza is looking to get bigger and bigger, both in coverage and sales. The fast-casual pizza restaurant chain opened its 100th location in December 2015 and now has more than 115 restaurants, with a goal of 500 by 2020.

The chain is working on increasing its footprint through partnerships with multi-unit franchisees. The company is focusing in particular on centers that get both daytime and nighttime traffic and prefers co-tenancy with other fast-casual brands, such as Panera Bread and Five Guys.

Blaze opened its first international location in Toronto, Ontario, in October 2015. Since then, a second Canadian restaurant has opened in Edmonton, Alberta, with a planned opening in Calgary, Alberta.



The brand’s five-year plan is to become the fifth-largest pizza chain in the United States, after Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Little Caesars and Papa John’s.

Chain Blazed Through 2015 to Become Fastest-Growing

The 2016 Technomic Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report shows Blaze Pizza as the fastest-growing restaurant chain in the U.S. With year-over-year sales up 205 percent for 2015, Blaze easily outdistanced second-place MOD Pizza.

The ranking also showed the rising popularity of fast-casual pizza chains, with three in the top five (Pieology was in fourth place with an increase of 67 percent). All provide unlimited toppings at affordable prices and prepare pizzas in just a few minutes.

LeBron ‘Ron’ James Signs Endorsement Deal

NBA star LeBron James, an early investor in Blaze Pizza, came on in 2012 and has increased his presence with the company, even working behind the counter for a marketing campaign that gave him the name “Ron,” a new employee who knows nothing about basketball but plenty about Blaze Pizza.

James signed a multi-year endorsement deal in 2015. Also lead investors in Blaze Pizza are Maria Shriver and Red Sox chairman Tom Werner.

The Three-Minute Pizza

Blaze Pizza was founded in Pasadena, California, in 2011 by Elise and Rick Wetzel of Wetzel’s Pretzels. Franchising began in 2012. The chain gets its name from its three-minute average cooktime.

The assembly-line format enables customers to customize a signature pizza with their own favorites or create their own unique pizzas, choosing from both classic ingredients like sausage and onions and less typical offerings like artichokes and roasted red peppers.

Along the way, they can select salads and desserts as well.

From crust to toppings, pizzas are prepared in front of customers before being speedily cooked over an open flame in an 800-degree oven, so busy diners can get served quickly and get on their way.

Urban Atmosphere

Locations vary widely, from urban storefronts to shopping centers to co-tenancies with other retail establishments, but they share a common theme in the modern design by award-winning MASS Architecture. Stark earthy materials like concrete and metal, along with bold, artistic graphics, give the restaurants a vibrant urban atmosphere.



A Blaze Pizza restaurant is typically 2,200 to 3,000 square feet, but in some locations the square footage could be as low as 1,800 and as high as 3,200.

Section II – Estimated Costs

  • Please click here for detailed estimates of Blaze Pizza franchise costs, based on Item 7 of the company’s 2016 FDD (updated).

Section III – Financial Performance Representations (Item 19, 2016 FDD) and Analysis



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