Celebrity endorsements can go a long way. Blaze Pizza is exploding, especially after investment from the likes of LeBron James and Maria Shriver.
When Blaze Pizza opened in 2014 it had 50 locations nationwide. There are already plans to expand by opening 60 to 70 new sites.
Diners create pizzas by selecting from seven cheeses, eight proteins, 20 vegetables, and three sauces. They are then baked in a stone hearth oven in just three minutes. And the price is right, ranging from $5 to $10, depending on toppings.
The idea for Blaze Pizza was formulated in 2011, when founders Rick and Elise Wetzel, who also founded Wetzel’s Pretzels sought help from pizza chef Bradford Kent to create a fast-casual pizza chain. They came up with the successful recipe — customized pizza made fast and at a cheap price — and the rest is history.
“Until recently, your only options were the big, traditional, pizza chains or sit-down restaurants,” Jim Mizes, the president and chief operating officer, told Business Insider.
“We wanted to build something with a modern twist that would resonate with millennials.”
Blaze Pizza might have some major competition soon. Chipotle is opening its third Pizzeria Locale and fast-casual chains, like PizzaRev, are growing on the heels of Blaze Pizza. The question is whether the famous names like LeBron’s will bolster Blaze’s reputation.