Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza, a leading fast-casual artisanal pizza concept, announced the promotion of Jim Mizes to president and CEO Thursday. Mizes, who has served as the company’s President and Chief Operating Officer since 2013, will assume global responsibility for the brand, spearheading the continued growth of Blaze Pizza in the USA and internationally.
"Jim is uniquely suited to take over the CEO role at our organization," says Rick Wetzel, co-founder and Chairman of Blaze Pizza. "He combines a background in finance and restaurant operations with decades of experience helping start-up brands add systems and processes so they can scale smoothly and quickly. He is truly the entrepreneur's best friend."
Mizes has previously helped Noah's Bagels and Jamba Juice transition from start-up to high-growth organizations, building the infrastructure and support for each to rapidly add locations and grow sales. He joined Blaze Pizza as its COO in 2012 when the company had two restaurants.
Under Mizes’ leadership, Blaze Pizza has implemented guest-facing and infrastructure-building processes and procedures that have enabled the company to:
Achieve average unit volumes (AUVs) of $1.45 million in 2016 across 31 states and Canada.
Grow system-wide sales to $185 million in 2016 with a four-year system-wide sales CAGR of 210 percent.
Layer in systems, processes, training and technology ahead of the curve to support a four-year new-unit CAGR of 205 percent.
Attract an outstanding group of franchise partners who bring experience, infrastructure, capital and creativity to fuel growth and brand performance.
Prior to joining Blaze Pizza, Mizes served as President of Freebirds World Burrito, overseeing the brand’s multi-state expansion and doubling its number of units. Mizes also served as VP of Brand Development and VP of Store Operations for Jamba Juice, leading its growth from 50 to 350 stores over 5 years. Prior to Jamba Juice, Mizes served as President of Noah’s New York Bagels, where he led the company’s development and growth until it was sold to Einstein Bros. Bagels.
“I’m looking forward to working with Rick, Elise and the Blaze Pizza Board to continue growing the Blaze brand both domestically and internationally,” said Mizes. “By leveraging the infrastructure we’ve built over our first five years, we are now well-positioned to become a dominant category leader, with a goal of becoming a billion-dollar brand by 2022.”