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 2020 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 2020 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 2017, 2018, and 2019, based on Item 20 of the company’s 2020 FDD
- Section V – Presentation and analysis of Blaze Pizza’s financial performance representations, based on Item 19 of the company’s 2020 FDD, including information on the:
- 2019 average and median gross sales for the 226 franchised Blaze Pizza Restaurants that had been in operation for at least 18 months as of December 29, 2019 and were not operated from food courts or traditional malls
- 2019 average and median gross sales for the 4 corporate Blaze Pizza Restaurants that had been in operation for at least 18 months as of December 29, 2019 and were not operated from food courts or traditional malls
Section I – Background Information
16 Things You Need to Know About the Blaze Pizza Franchise
Appoints New Chief Executive Officer
1. In early November 2019, Blaze Pizza announced the promotion of Mandy Shaw to president and chief executive officer. Shaw has been with Los Angeles-based Blaze Pizza since 2018 as its chief financial officer, and has also served as interim CEO since August 2019. Shaw has played a critical role in the company’s rapid growth over the past two years.
2. Rick Wetzel, co-founder of Blaze Pizza, said, “Mandy is stepping into the CEO role with a unique understanding of the brand. Since joining just under two years ago, she has demonstrated a blend of entrepreneurial spirit, brand vision and operational expertise that make her the perfect fit to lead this company.”
3. Shaw takes over as Blaze is showing significant momentum due to recent product launches including new specialty crusts and a clean-ingredient 14” large pizza, garnering significant national media attention. Blaze Pizza currently operates 340 restaurants across 41 states and 6 countries, and the company has established itself as the premier destination for fast artisanal pizza.
4. Blaze Pizza gave Shaw considerable credit for driving growth, fostering strong relationships with franchisees, and spearheading the company’s focus on digital innovation, technology, and systems. A seasoned executive, Shaw previously worked in a number of roles at Bloomin’ Brands for over 12 years, including serving as chief information officer and chief accounting officer, before making her move to Los Angeles to join Blaze.
5. According to Shaw, “I am thrilled to be stepping into this new role with Blaze and I am excited to hit the ground running. This Company was built on partnering with exceptional franchisees to provide world-class guest experiences, and I look forward to helping Blaze continue to deliver on that promise.”
Signs 16-Unit Development Deal for Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana
6. At the end of January 2020, Blaze Pizza announced that it had inked a landmark 16-unit development deal. In partnership with multi-brand operators Elie Damouni, George Damouni, Nadim Burbar, and Daniel Burbar, the recognized world leader in fast artisanal pizza will dramatically grow its footprint across the Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana regions.
7. Within the large territory, the Damounis’ and Burbars’ team will focus on adding locations throughout Illinois counties including DuPage, Will, Kankakee, Kane, McHenry, and Lake, as well as Indiana’s Lake, Porter, and LaPorte counties.
8. Elie Damouni, who will be working closely alongside his brother George and two nephews, said, “When we were seriously considering our investment in Blaze Pizza, the two most important selling factors were the business model and the brand’s size. For a concept with tremendous growth potential, I also feel the corporate team is an extension of my family. To have people who truly care about your operations and development goals is so important in today’s restaurant industry. I’m looking forward to the hands-on support we’ll be receiving as we grow Blaze Pizza’s Midwest presence.”
9. As a multi-brand operator with business ownership experience, Elie Damouni joins Blaze Pizza with 15-plus years of QSR industry knowledge. His family, who will be heavily involved in business development and daily operations, comes from a long line of entrepreneurs. The team’s complementary management and marketing skillset will help facilitate their growth plans in the months and years to come.
10. According to Laura Crews, senior manager, franchise development for Blaze Pizza, “Elie and his family have a strong determination and spirited attitude, which is exactly what we look for in our partners. Their combined experience in business ownership and the restaurant industry makes them a powerhouse team, and we’re anticipating they’ll have a prosperous journey.”
Cancels Pi-Day In-Store Event
11. A day before Pi Day, March 14, Blaze Pizza announced that it would continue to prioritize the health and safety of its guests and team members. As communities continue to feel the increased impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and given that the annual Pi Day event draws large crowds of pizza lovers to Blaze restaurants, the company announced the cancellation of its in-store Pi Day celebration scheduled for Saturday, March 14.
12. In place of the in-store promotion, all app users will receive the $3.14 pizza reward in their app starting Monday, March 16, redeemable through the end of the year at their convenience. Guests had to download the Blaze Pizza app by 11:59 p.m. PST on Sunday, March 15 in order to automatically receive the new Pi Day reward.
13. Mandy Shaw, CEO of Blaze Pizza, said, “We continue to be hyper-focused on delivering a safe and enjoyable experience for our guests and team members. Our restaurants remain open, and we look forward to serving guests their favorite pizza, whether they choose to dine in, or opt for delivery.”
14. Blaze Pizza was founded in 2011 by Rick and Elise Wetzel of Wetzel’s Pretzels. The first location did not open until 2012 in Irvine, California. The Wetzels modeled Blaze Pizza after the Chipotle concept as a made-to-order approach to serving customers. The company’s name comes from the fact that the create-your-own pizzas are “Fast Fire’d” in a high-temperature open-flame oven – an average cook time is 3 minutes. Like Chipotle, Blaze Pizza customers choose what ingredients they want on their pizza while moving down a service line.
15. Two months after opening the first Blaze Pizza, the Wetzels opened a second, flagship store in Pasadena, California. Franchising started immediately and by the end of 2014, Blaze had become the first fast-casual pizza restaurant to achieve 50 opened units. At that time, the company had commitments with franchise partners to open 343 restaurants in 39 states. Today, there are Blaze Pizza locations across the United States, Canada, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates.
Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500
16. Blaze Pizza ranked No. 99 on Entrepreneur’s 2020 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 2020 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 2020 FDD.
Section IV – Number of Franchised and Company-Owned Outlets
- 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: 224
- Outlets at the End of the Year: 289
- Net Change: +65
- Outlets at the Start of the Year: 289
- Outlets at the End of the Year: 306
- Net Change: +17
- Outlets at the Start of the Year: 6
- Outlets at the End of the Year: 6
- Net Change: 0
- Outlets at the Start of the Year: 6
- Outlets at the End of the Year: 7
- Net Change: +1
- Outlets at the Start of the Year: 7
- Outlets at the End of the Year: 7
- Net Change: 0
Section V – Financial Performance Representations (Item 19, 2020 FDD) and Analysis
Average Gross Sales for Restaurants That Had Been in Operation for At Least 18 Months
- As of December 29, 2019, there were 313 Blaze Pizza Restaurants in operation: 306 franchised Restaurants (“Franchised Restaurants”) and 7 corporate or affiliate Restaurants (“Corporate Restaurants”).
- The financial information provided in the following table represents the historical financial performance of the 226 Franchised Restaurants and four Corporate Restaurants that (a) had been in operation for at least 18 months as of December 29, 2019; and (b) were not operated from food courts or traditional malls (“Reporting Group”) for the fiscal year 2019 (December 31, 2018 to December 29, 2019) (“Reporting Period”).
- Blaze Pizza has also excluded one Corporate Restaurant that is operated under a license agreement with a master concessionaire.
- Franchised Blaze Pizza Restaurants will share many of the same characteristics as Corporate Restaurants, including degree of competition, length of time the outlets have operated, and services and goods offered, except that Corporate Restaurants do not pay Continuing Royalties.
- Corporate Restaurants pay Creative Fund Contributions and incur comparable cost of goods sold as Franchised Restaurants.