US fast-casual artisanal pizza chain, Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza, has entered into an exclusive development agreement with the Kuwait-based M.H. Alshaya Co. to build and operate multiple Blaze Pizza restaurants across the Middle East and Northern Africa.
The agreement will see the development of 100 restaurants in 11 countries including the UAE, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Egypt, and Morocco, with the first five restaurants scheduled to open in Kuwait and the UAE in 2018.
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.
Mohammad Alshaya, executive chairman of M.H. Alshaya Co. commented: “Blaze Pizza is a very exciting and disruptive brand that fits nicely into our restaurant portfolio alongside Starbucks and Shake Shack.
“With its simple approach to fast, authentic, customisable pizza, we see a tremendous opportunity to build Blaze into the dominant pizza brand in the Middle East and throughout the region.”
The build-your-own pizza chain, known for its chef-driven recipes and casually hip restaurants, recently opened its milestone 200th restaurant.
It has agreements in place to open more than 400 additional locations across the US, Canada, the Middle East and Northern Africa.
The agreement with Alshaya includes the development of both traditional and delivery-only formats.
Rick Wetzel, co-founder of Blaze Pizza said: “There is really only one ‘best way’ to take your brand overseas and that is to partner with Alshaya.
“For some time, we’ve been receiving requests to bring our brand to the Middle East. Now that we’ve partnered with Alshaya, we’re happy to say that we will be there soon.”
M.H. Alshaya Co. is a franchise operator for over 80 brands including Starbucks, Shake Shack, The Cheesecake Factory, P.F. Chang’s, Victoria’s Secret, Pottery Barn, H & M and Mothercare.
The company currently operates more than 3,500 stores across the Middle East, Europe, North Africa, Russia, and CIS.
Blaze Pizza serves artisanal, custom-built pizzas, salads, blood orange lemonade and s’more pies.
Each Blaze Pizza restaurant features an interactive open-kitchen format that allows guests to customize one of the menu’s signature pizzas or create their own, choosing from “clean” ingredients.
The pizzas are made on an open-flame oven – the centerpiece of the restaurant – and are ready to eat in 180 seconds.
Restaurants make fresh dough from scratch using a proprietary recipe developed by executive chef Bradford Kent, which requires a 24-hour fermentation period.
The chain operates over 200 restaurants in 32 states and Canada, including the major metropolitan areas of Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Las Vegas, Boston, and Toronto.