|Fast assembly-line service at Blaze Pizza.|
(Originally published 1/18/16)
The Blaze Pizza chain, which began moving into the Capital Region late in 2015, is one of three similar companies compared in a National Restaurant News (NRN) analysis of the fast-casual pizza niche using different business models to expand.
Here's how NRN describes the companies:
• Blaze Pizza -- "The Pasadena, CA-based chain that now has over 100 locations. It is growing quickly with an all-franchised business model and has sold out the rights to develop every territory in the U.S."
• MOD Pizza -- "Thanks to the backing of $74 million in equity financing -- and growing -- the Bellevue, WA-based chain tripled in size last year to 92 locations, all of which are company owned."
• Pie Five Pizza Co. -- "Started as an airport format by the buffet chain Pizza Inn, Pie Five now has more than 80 franchise and company locations, and continues to grow thanks to the cash generated by its parent company. The company expects to pass 100 units by June."
Blaze Pizza opened its first local unit in the Mohawk Commons shopping complex on Balltown Road in Niskayuna. Another will open soon in Stuyvesant Plaza in Guilderland.
The chain's gimmick that sets it apart from the competition is the use of fresh, made-from-scratch dough, topped by an assembly line group of "pizzasmiths," popped into a super-hot oven for 180 seconds, and you're served.