In this FDD Talk 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 2018 FDD
- Section III – Initial franchise fee, royalty fee, marketing fee, and other fees for a Blaze Pizza franchise, based on Items 5 and 6 of the company’s 2018 FDD
- Section IV – Number of franchised and company-owned Blaze Pizza outlets at the start of the year and the end of the year for 2015, 2016, and 2017, based on Item 20 of the company’s 2018 FDD
- Section V – Presentation and analysis of Blaze Pizza’s financial performance representations, based on Item 19 of the company’s 2018 FDD, including information on the:
- 2017 average and median gross sales for the 117 franchised Blaze Pizza Restaurants that had been in operation for at least 18 months ending December 31, 2017
- 2017 average and median gross sales for the 5 corporate Blaze Pizza Restaurants that had been in operation for at least 18 months ending December 31, 2017
Section I – Background Information
21 Things You Need to Know About the Blaze Pizza Franchise
Partners With Caviar to Offer Delivery
1. In early February 2018, Blaze Pizza announced that it had partnered with third-party delivery service Caviar to start offering delivery at some of the brand’s domestic locations. At the time of the announcement, only 17 locations in Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Philadelphia, and San Francisco were offering delivery as part of the brand’s “Blaze Instantly” initiative.
2. According to Blaze Pizza’s CMO Shivram Vaideeswaran, “Delivery has been the number one request from our fans for years and we’ve been looking for the right partner to help us bring this to life. This year, we’re looking to change the game on pizza delivery. Instead of the factory-style pizza that has been delivered for the past 30-plus years, guests can now get hot-and-crispy pizza, customized the way they like and delivered incredibly fast through our partnership with Caviar.”
3. In addition to providing delivery, Blaze Pizza developed an easy-to-use online and mobile ordering system through the brand’s app. Customers can also order by phone using the toll-free number 1-877-BLAZE-4-U. Vaideeswaran said, “We want to make ordering a pizza from Blaze the most accessible thing you can do. One of the things we had seen in the pizza category is that picking up the phone and calling in was something that was very familiar and very natural to a lot of our guests.”
4. Blaze Pizza’s phone orders are handled by a national call center set up through SYNQ3 Restaurant Solutions. The orders are then shuttled directly into a nearby unit’s point-of-sale system. For its online ordering, Blaze Pizza uses Olo and provides delivery through Olo’s Rails platform.
4. Although Blaze Pizza is only initially offering delivery in a few key metropolitan areas, the brand plans to expand the service. Vaideeswaran added that Blaze was “talking to multiple third-party providers.”
5. Blaze Pizza hopes to match the in-store experience with its apps and online ordering platforms. The brand also believes that heightened convenience is an important driver of business. Vaideeswaran said, “We’re continuing to grow our online and app ordering, because we know convenience is what drives our guests. I think third-party delivery will be a big play not only for us but for the industry. We have to make sure we are a high-quality option. Fast is in our name, and we have to make sure we deliver on that — literally.”
Strengthens Leadership Team
6. At the start of 2018, Blaze Pizza announced the addition of four key members to its leadership team in support of the company’s goal to exceed $1 billion in system-wide sales worldwide by its 10th anniversary in 2022. The company also announced new resources focused on international development to support a growing list of openings outside of the U.S.
7. Blaze Pizza appointed Mandy Shaw as chief financial officer; Carolyne Canady to the role of president, international; Julie Price as vice president of franchise sales; and Vafa Mansouri as the company’s new director of food safety and QA.
8. Jim Mizes, Blaze Pizza’s president and CEO, said, “From day one, our focus has been on cultivating a brand that is culturally impactful on a global scale. With the expansion of our leadership team, Blaze Pizza is even further primed to achieve that goal, and to do it in record time. In 2017, we added a strategic growth partner in Brentwood Associates, and an international franchise powerhouse in M.H. Alshaya Co. As we look to 2018 and beyond, I know that this leadership team has the experience and drive to bring our ambitious vision to life.”
9. Before joining Blaze Pizza, Shaw previously served as chief financial officer for the international division of Bloomin’ Brands (the parent company of Outback Steakhouse, Bonefish Grill, Fleming’s, and Carrabba’s Italian Grill) and as chief accounting officer during Bloomin’s transition to a private company and through its subsequent IPO. In her new role as CFO, Shaw will be tasked with guiding the company’s domestic and international teams to continue delivering long-term profitability and growth.
10. Canady was previously Blaze Pizza’s chief development officer and played a significant role in Blaze Pizza’s expansion as the fastest growing restaurant concept in history. In her new role as president (international), Canady will assist with the brand’s overseas expansion.
11. Blaze Pizza has hired Price as vice president of franchise sales to further bolster the brand’s aggressive domestic and international franchise plans. Price brings a decade of experience working with Dunkin’ Brands, including Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, and leading business development at Pinkberry.
12. Mansouri joins Blaze Pizza’s culinary team with more than 20 years of technical expertise in food safety with brands such as Shake Shack and Yum! Brands’ international division, and will be working closely with Blaze Pizza’s executive chef Brad Kent to further elevate the brand’s high food standards.
Teams Up With (RED) to Support Fight Against AIDS
13. In early June 2018, Blaze Pizza announced that it had partnered with (RED) to support the fight against AIDS. For the second year in a row, Blaze Pizza participated in the month-long EAT (RED) SAVE LIVES campaign, rebranding its signature Red Vine pizza as the “(RED) Vine” in each of its North American locations. Additionally, in collaboration with Coca Cola, Blaze Pizza donated $1 for each purchase of the brand’s signature (RED) Vine pizza and Coke, contributing up to $50,000 to (RED)’s fight against AIDS.
14. Blaze Pizza co-founder Elise Wetzel said, “We’re proud to partner with (RED) and like-minded brands to support this critical fight against HIV/AIDS. Our goal is not only to donate to (RED), but also to empower our guests to join the fight. Working together, AIDS could be over in less than 15 years from now.”
15. For this year’s campaign, Blaze Pizza used social media to foster customer engagement and drive more support for the cause. In an effort to #86AIDS, Blaze encouraged customers to post a picture of their pizza and cold drink using the hashtag #CokeRedSweepstakes and tagging @BlazePizza on Instagram or Twitter. Through the social media campaign, Blaze Pizza donated an additional $1 for each post, with the goal of raising an additional $10,000.
16. By posting, customers were also entered to win prizes, like a pair of red LeBron 14s from his personal collection, tickets to a (WANDERLUST) RED 108 event, (LOKAI) RED bracelets, and FREE Blaze Pizza. One lucky grand prize winner received a trip for two to New York City, including airfare, hotel, and tickets to rock out at a concert of their choice.
17. Combined, Blaze Pizza pledged to donate up to $60,000 to the Global Fund. Through generous matching from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the initiative planned to generate at least $120,000 in June – enough to provide 600,000 days of life-saving HIV/AIDS medication.
18. The concept for Blaze Pizza was developed in 2011 by Elise and Rick Wetzel — founders of the famous Wetzel’s Pretzels — in Pasadena, California. The Wetzels were inspired by Chipotle’s made-to-order concept and felt that the same approach would work with pizza. The name of the brand, Blaze Pizza, comes from how quickly the custom pizzas can be “Fast Fire’d” in a high-temperature open-flame oven.
19. The first Blaze Pizza location opened in 2012 in Irvine, California and two months later, the second Blaze Pizza — which is the brand’s flagship store — opened in Pasadena. The Wetzels immediately franchised the Blaze Pizza concept and within the first year of operation, the two initial Blaze Pizza locations earned a combined $4.3 million. This early success and widespread interest in the made-to-order, quick-serve pizza concept led Blaze Pizza to grow quickly.
20. The company said that it is on track toward reaching its goal of having at least 500 locations by 2020.
Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500
21. Blaze Pizza ranked No. 95 on Entrepreneur’s 2018 Franchise 500 list.
Section II – Estimated Costs
- Please click here for detailed estimates of Blaze Pizza franchise costs, based on Item 7 of the company’s 2018 FDD.
Section III – Initial Franchise Fee, Royalty Fee, Marketing Fee, and Other Fees
- Please click here for detailed information on Blaze Pizza’s initial franchise fee, royalty fee, marketing fee, and other fees, based on Items 5 and 6 of the company’s 2018 FDD.
Section IV – Number of Franchised and Company-Owned Outlets
- Outlets at the Start of the Year: 47
- Outlets at the End of the Year: 99
- Net Change: +52
- Outlets at the Start of the Year: 99
- Outlets at the End of the Year: 163
- Net Change: +64
- Outlets at the Start of the Year: 163
- Outlets at the End of the Year: 224
- Net Change: +61
- Outlets at the Start of the Year: 3
- Outlets at the End of the Year: 5
- Net Change: +2
- Outlets at the Start of the Year: 5
- Outlets at the End of the Year: 6
- Net Change: +1
- Outlets at the Start of the Year: 6
- Outlets at the End of the Year: 6
- Net Change: 0
Section V – Financial Performance Representations (Item 19, 2018 FDD) and Analysis
Average Gross Sales for Restaurants That Had Been in Operation for At Least 18 Months
- As of December 31, 2017, there were 230 Blaze Pizza Restaurants in operation (225 franchised Restaurants (“Franchised Restaurants”) and 5 corporate Restaurants (“Corporate Restaurants”)).
- Blaze Pizza competes in an emerging category of fast-casual, artisanal pizza. As such, stores reach maturity generally after 18 months.
- In addition, no Restaurants are currently in development in food courts or traditional malls.
- Of the 230 Blaze Pizza Restaurants, 117 Franchised Restaurants and 5 Corporate Restaurants: (a) had been in operation for at least 18 months ending December 31, 2017; and (b) were not operated from food courts or traditional malls (the “Reporting Group”).
- The information in the table below shows the average and median Gross Sales of the Franchised Restaurants and Corporate Restaurants in the Reporting Group from December 26, 2016 through December 31, 2017.