Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza, the nation’s leading fast casual artisanal pizza concept, announced results and highlights for the third quarter ended September 24. The build-your-own pizza chain, known for its chef-driven recipes and fun, modern restaurants, recently opened its 220th restaurant and has agreements in place to open more than 400 additional locations across the U.S., Canada, the Middle East and Northern Africa. The company continues to maintain its target of 1,000 restaurants and $1 billion in annual system-wide sales within four to seven years.
Same store sales increased 5.5 percent in the third quarter, comprised of a 1.3 percent increase in guest traffic and a 4.2 percent increase in sales mix and price. Year-to-date same store sales increased 4.3 percent versus year-ago.
Year-to-date system-wide sales revenue, which includes company and franchised restaurants, increased 54 percent to $200 million. The company forecasts full year sales of $270 million in 2017 and $380 million in 2018.
Restaurant unit count is up 38 percent, including the opening of 50 new locations year-to-date. Plans call for 240 restaurants open by the end of 2017 and 325 restaurants open by the end of 2018.
Average unit volume (AUV) of restaurants open for 18 months or longer grew to $1.41 million.
Social media activity increased 216 percent in the third quarter, reaching 44 million users across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
International franchise partner M.H. Alshaya Co. signed an agreement to develop 100 Blaze Pizza restaurants in the Middle East and Northern Africa. The Alshaya agreement marks the first expansion of Blaze Pizza outside of North America and represents the largest development deal in the brand’s history.
Leading consumer-focused private equity firm Brentwood Associates made a significant non-controlling investment in Blaze Pizza. Concurrent with the transaction, Bill Barnum, Rahul Aggarwal and Greg Dollarhyde joined its board of directors.
“Our growth focused strategy allows Blaze Pizza to cultivate fanatics around the globe with beautiful restaurants in new markets and more locations for our fans in existing markets,” says Jim Mizes, president and CEO of Blaze Pizza. “Best of all, we continue to ‘punch above our weight’ in all we do including our clean, fresh ingredients, digital training and people development, hospitality, brand marketing, and through our experienced, culturally-aligned franchise partners. We simply have momentum in every aspect of our business.”