The three largest pizza chains in the U.S. — Domino ’ second Pizza, with $ 5.9 billion in gross in 2017 ; Pizza Hut, with $ 5.5 billion ; and Little Caesar, with $ 3.7 billion — may be looking over their shoulder. Blaze Fast-Fire ’ vitamin d Pizza is gaining on them .
Blaze Pizza ’ s sales skyrocketed to $ 279 million in 2017, an increase of 51 % compared with the previous year ’ s $ 185 million. It now has 296 restaurants, and it opened a sock 66 raw eateries in 2017, expanding to 36 states and Canada. And more are on the way .
In 2018, it is projecting to add 87 new eateries. Blaze Pizza negotiated an agreement this year with M.H. Alshaya Co. to develop 100 restaurants in 11 countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia .
furthermore, its same-store tax income spiked 3.7 % for the full class, and its average unit generates $ 1.4 million in gross. Its accountants must be smiling .
here ’ s what Pasadena, California-based Blaze Pizza president and CEO Jim Mizes says about it rapid-fire growth :
What’s the secret to Blaze Pizza’s rapid success?
Mizes : I think it goes back to founders Rick and Elise Wetzel, who saw the opportunity in 2011 for serving blazing-fast ( hence the name ) artisanal pizza for lunch. It ’ s made with fresh dough from scratch with all-natural ingredients with no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. We rode the curl of “ I want it my means ” and customization .
So what’s the role of these 30 different toppings?
Mizes : The simpleton answer is this : It ’ s all for one price. You can modify eight signature pizza or start with a blank canvas and put on it whatever you like. At most pizza places, when you add one ingredient they charge you for it. At Blaze, the basic price is about $ 8, an 11-inch thin crust pizza goes for $ 6, and you can order as many toppings as you like. People learn quickly if they put excessively many ingredients on it won ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate exploit. The average is five to eight toppings. For case, people will order shredded mozzarella or capricorn tall mallow, possibly add wimp, bacon, sausage, and vegetables, such as green peppers or spinach .
What’s your competitive edge compared to every chain pizza and mom-and-pop pizzeria?
Mizes : I ’ d churn it down to our lunch price served at blazing focal ratio. At all these other players, it takes 15 to 20 minutes to get your pizza. At Blaze, it takes two to three minutes to make it down the line, you pay and in three minutes your pizza is cooked in our oven .
Your target audience?
Mizes : Millennials and Gen Z, the on-demand generation, are our prey audience. They don ’ t have to watch television at 7 post meridiem to get what they want ; they can stream it and watch it when they want. People don ’ thyroxine want to wait in wrinkle. It ’ sulfur served in a din room with booths and music, a comfortable place to sit in and have a meal, whether you ’ re a Gen X or baby baby boomer .
You offer vegan cheese and gluten-free crust. Is this healthy pizza?
Mizes : All of our kernel products have no nitrates ; even the bacon, blimp and pepperoni are without nitrates. From the begin, we saw our aim customer as intelligent, and we want to help them make intelligent choices in our food. Our boodle consists of flour, water, anoint, yeast and our hidden batch of spices. If you want pizza with sauce and vegetables, it ’ south about 100 calories a cut .
You have 296 outlets with 290 franchise-owned and only six company-owned. Why decide on franchising as your growth model?
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Mizes : You have to go bet on to 2012 when this category was emerging. It ’ s a hot class with many players on the field, but it ’ s the details of how you execute that will determine who ’ second successful and who ’ s not. There used to be 80 different customized pizza places and now there ’ randomness Blaze and MOD Pizza ( which stands for made-on-demand pizza ). We knew it would be a hot class so we had to move fast, and franchise is a great way to do that .
Any drawbacks to having 95% of your stores franchised?
Mizes : When the franchisee is successful, if we had them ourselves, we ’ d make more money. That ’ s the down side. The top is when you ’ ra working well and collaborate on the brand, they ’ ll proceed to grow. We picked experience franchisees so we didn ’ t have to teach them how to run a restaurant. We just had to teach about Blaze and how to “ blazify ” them .
What were the keys in Blaze Pizza’s revenue growing by over 50% in 2017?
Mizes : It starts with intensive concenter on the consumer. We ’ re franchise-focused and focus on franchise support. From the begin, we found franchisees who are experienced operators in early fast-food brands .
Aren’t most potential restaurant locations oversaturated?
Mizes : Our second restaurant in Pasadena opened 50 yards from a successful local pizza shop. We ’ re both even there and both are successful. One of our first 15 restaurants, located in Indianapolis, was surrounded by bequest pizza places. We ’ re silent there and sol are they. Pizza is a $ 45 billion category, and now we ’ ve added third-party delivery via Grubhub, DoorDash and Seamless .
When you enter a market, how do you get the word out?
Mizes : Our big driver is to generate parole of mouth. All of our restaurants open up with free 11-inch pizza the second gear day. We work the local anesthetic press and television receiver. We ’ ve served 1,000 pizza and generate a bunch of buzz .
You keep discussing blazing-fast lunches, but what about dinner?
Mizes : Our gross is 50 % lunch and 50 % dinner. Our prices stay the like so there ’ south better rate at dinner. The average control price is $ 14.50 a person. We take away the veto vote. The child can have his own pizza, and ma or dad can have beer or wine .
What will it take for Blaze to consider going public?
Mizes : We ’ d always said we ’ d like to go populace with a $ 1 billion evaluation. We ’ ra not there so far .
Growing so rapidly can be a trap. Hiring the right managers and maintaining a consistent culture are tricky. How to avoid the traps?
Mizes : It starts with choosing the good franchisees. It ’ randomness supported by having a potent real-estate model that reduced the risk of making a poor selection, then it moves to setting up the right train and communication. We communicate with our franchisees arsenic much as our company-owned restaurants .
Two years from today, where do you expect Blaze Pizza to be?
Mizes : about 500 restaurants. Expect to see multiple franchise partners in other parts of the worldly concern. We ’ ll finish up this class in 42 states. I don ’ t think there ’ s been company that has gone from one state of matter to 42 states in six years.
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Name the three key factors to Blaze Pizza’s successful future.
Mizes : 1. Adapt the post, which includes rescue and digital and on-line orders ; 2. Evolve the brand with deference to new products and ingredients that keep us relevant ; 3. intense focus on our franchisees and their net income .