You might have heard about Domino, Pizza Hut, and other pizza brands which sell pizza in the old traditional way, but Blaze Pizza came in, introducing their “Built your own pizza” and becoming the king in the pizza game. But who owns Blaze Pizza?
Yes, Blaze Pizza is considered the pioneer in the “Build your own pizza” market, but it’s more than just a pizza outlet. It has many celebrities involved.
So, without further ado, let’s get started in unraveling some truths about Blaze Pizza.
About Blaze Pizza
The story of Blaze Pizza was started in 2011 by Rick and Eric Wetzel in Pasadena, California.
They opened their very first store in Irvine, California, in 2012. They later opened their flagship and second outlet in Pasadena, California.
Blaze Pizza was modeled after Chipotle’s- made-to-order technique to serve the customers.
As of now, Blaze Pizza has more than 340 locations across 38 states and 6 countries. The brand has 93 restaurants alone in California, USA.
Who Owns Blaze Pizza?
Blaze Pizza is owned by the co-founders, Rick Wetzel and Elise Wetzel, who are known for their association with Wetzel’s Pretzels.
The leadership team includes CEO Tyler Cardon, President Gaston Mooney, Executive Chef Brad Kent, and CEO Mandy Shaw.
LeBron James is a part-owner and investor in the chain, having made a $1 million investment in 2012, which has since grown his equity stake to over $35 million.
How Does Blaze Pizza Make Their Dough?
Every restaurant has its signature dish or ingredients for Blaze Pizza, it’s their pizza dough.
In an interview, Elise and Rick Wetzel shared their secret to making crisp and soft pizza dough. It’s the 24-hour fermentation. Then they refrigerate the dough, which makes the flavor finally come out.
There’s no denying how much we all love that first soft, crusty bite of pizza, enjoying it right from the pointy corner filled with cheese and flavors to finish the crust.
But the challenge starts after you finish the last bite of the pizza, and it starts blotting inside your stomach.
This can make you wish you’d better order a salad.
But with Blaze Pizza, you won’t regret the post-pizza feeling as the fermentation process they adopt to make the dough easily digestible.
Does LeBron James Own Blaze Pizza?
LeBron James is a popular name in the American professional basketball space. The player currently plays for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA).
He is also considered the greatest basketball player of all time, having won winning 2 gold medals in the Olympics, 4 NBA championships, and three NBA finals MVP awards.
Not only this, but he is also a successful businessman with investments in many companies.
One such business that LeBron James invested in is Blaze Pizza.
He invested in the company in 2012 when Blaze Pizza was taking baby steps toward its success.
This makes LeBron one of the early investors of Blaze Pizza.
How Much Stake Does LeBron James Own In Blaze Pizza?
LeBron James is a part-time owner of the brand. He owns 10% of Blaze Pizza.
Since then, the company opened its outlet in 300 locations. His investment has tremendously benefitted the company making it grow and prosperous.
This makes LeBron James a significant investor in the company.
When Did LeBron James Invest In Blaze Pizza?
LeBron James made his investment in Blaze Pizza in 2012. He decided to invest $1 million in the chain, along with his business partner Maverick Carter and financial advisor Paul Wachter from Main Street Advisors.
This investment allowed them to open Blaze Pizza restaurants in Chicago and Miami.
Over the years, the company grew significantly, and LeBron’s initial investment of $1 million turned into an equity stake of over $35 million by 2020.
Who is the current CEO of Blaze Pizza In 2023?
As of 2023, the current CEO of Blaze Pizza is Beto Guajardo. He was appointed as the president and CEO of the company, succeeding Amanda Shaw, who took on the CEO role in 2019.
Before joining Blaze Pizza, Guajardo served as the president of Focus Brands International for more than two years, as mentioned in his LinkedIn profile.
Which Location of Blaze Pizza Does LeBron James Own?
LeBron owns two locations based in Miami and Chicago.
These two locations were opened after the player invested $1 million in the company in the year 2012.
Both locations are famous, especially among LeBron’s fans. The Chicago location has also been featured in the media for its distinctive layout.
Why Did LeBron James Choose Blaze Over Mcdonald’s?
The NBA star chose to invest his money in Blaze pizza rather than continuing his endorsement with Mcdonald’s.
The star also explained this sudden change in his interview with a digital media company, he said, “I had a great partnership with McDonald’s,” James said in the interview with his business manager, Maverick Carter.
“We did some great things on television, great things over the years. But I went to UC Irvine, to the first [Blaze Pizza] location. I tasted the product — the product was phenomenal. I took a pie back to the hotel.”
So, the investment was not to bash Mcdonald’s but purely because he believed in the product and the potential for growth with Blaze Pizza.
Some Facts About Blaze Pizza
Blaze Pizza gives a different experience to its customers by giving them a chance to make their own pizza by choosing their own sauce and toppings.
Here are some very unique facts to know about Blaze Pizza:
1. Pizza In 3 Minutes
If you have been to other pizza outlets, you know how much they make you wait when you are craving to eat the melted cheese pizza.
But at Blaze Pizza, the pizzas are cooked for a maximum of 180 seconds- 3 minutes, to be exact.
This is simply because their wood-fired ovens are so hot that it takes less time to cook. This makes every location cook more than 200 pizzas in an hour.
2. Top Chefs
Blaze Pizza is not your regular pizza outlet. It has experienced top chefs making your pizza. In fact, Blaze Pizza is led by a top chef named Brad Kent.
He earned a degree from the Culinary Institute of America and holds a degree in food science and nutrition.
He then opened his own pizza outlet and helped Trader Joe’s develop some snack food items.
According to Elise, ‘Brad Kent has been working on pizzas for his entire career’. They even call him “the pizza whisper.”
3. Unique Ingredients
Unlike any other pizza shop serving those regular ingredients as your pizza topping, Blaze Pizza goes beyond pepperoni, basil, and cheese.
They are never afraid to experiment with their ingredients.
For instance, they have fun toppings like Italian meatballs and garlic pesto mix. Besides this, they recently created a pizza using a popular alcoholic seltzer drink called White Claw.
4. 100% Clean & Green Ingredients
Every outlet of Blaze Pizza is very serious about making their pizza using clean ingredients.
In 2017, the company committed to stop using high-fructose corn syrup and any ingredients with artificial colors, preservatives, or flavors.
This initiative was called “Keep It Real,” and it took them 18 months to find new suppliers who supply ingredients without any artificial agents.
5. Blaze Pizza Serves Keto And Vegan Pizza
Yes, you read it right, Blaze Pizza is not limited to people eating regular pizzas.
They also offer keto diet or vegan diet pizza. Now you must be wondering that cheese is the main ingredient of any pizza, so how does Blaze Pizza make its cheese for its vegan customers?
They make their vegan pizza using soy-free vegan cheese, tons of fresh vegetables, and vegan spicy chorizo. Blaze Pizza offers 3 types of dough- original, gluten-free, high-rise and all three are vegan.
6. Expanding Internationally
Blaze Pizza now has more than 300 locations, with 6 being in different countries.
Now their business plan is to expand its “Build-Your-Own-Pizza” concept in new locations like Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain.
According to an interview with Skift, you can expect the company to be expanded in the locations like Mexico, Asia, and Europe.
Blaze Pizza Franchise
Are you looking for a Blaze Pizza franchise, or are you confused about whether this Franchise is a good investment or not?
To own a Blaze Pizza franchise, the minimum franchise fee that is required is $30,000, with royalty fees of 5.0%. This pizza brand is one of the 10 best pizza franchise opportunities in 2023.
We hope after reading this article, it’s clear that Blaze Pizza is not your regular pizza place. They have top chefs, their own unique fermentation process, and keep it real policy.
However, people often get confused about “who owns Blaze Pizza,” thinking that LeBron James started this growing restaurant chain.
What Dough Does Blaze Pizza Use?
The everyday dough for pizza is made using filtered water, unbleached flour, extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and a touch of sugar.
What Makes Blaze Pizza Different?
The difference lies in their fermented dough process and giving the choice to their customers to make their own pizza.
What Is Included In White Top Pizza?
The white top pizza includes their chef’s top recipe, which includes applewood bacon, white cream sauce with mozzarella, chopped garlic, oregano, and arugula.
Amit Gupta is an experienced expert in digital marketing and co-founder of DrFranchises. With more than 11 years of knowledge in franchise digital marketing, SEO, email marketing, and social media marketing, Amit has helped many brands achieve incredible success online. As a passionate entrepreneur and owner of 7 franchises, he continues to study franchise models, looking at costs, revenue, and profitability to guide brands toward profitable growth. When he’s not working on digital marketing, Amit enjoys spending time playing with his beloved dog.