Blaze Pizza ensures that it makes its presence known at each new location with its practice of giving away free pizza for the entire day when a store first opens its doors. The results are long lines of expectant patrons and a guaranteed coverage in the local media, and they’re becoming increasingly more common. As we detailed in our May 11, 2016 Restaurant & Foodservice Snapshot, Blaze Pizza is growing – quickly. The chain leads a rapidly-expanding pack of fast-fired concepts that are quickly dotting the North American landscape. Here’s a brief look at look at the past, present and future of the brand as it relates to your business.

To put the company’s store growth in perspective, Blaze Pizza consisted of two California locations in 2013. Three years later and Blaze is opening a new store every 3.8 days. By the close of 2016, the company will have 200 locations, almost doubling the 2015 year-end store count (105).

Blaze operates on a franchise model. Of its 134 locations at the time of this writing, five units (all based in California) are company owned with the balance operated by franchisees. Blaze has locations in 28 states (see map below) and two provinces (Albert and Ontario). At the end of 2015, the states with 5 or more locations were California (38), Illinois (8) and Florida (8).

New locations through the summer are planned for 13 states plus Alberta with multiple openings in LA, Phoenix, Dallas/Fort Wort, Houston, and Boston.

Store footprints range from 2,200 to 3,000 square feet (800 to 1,000 square feet for food court locations). Real estate criteria is as follows:

Population: 15,000 (1 mi.), 40,000 (2 mi.), 150,000 (3 mi.); MHI: $50-60K; preferred co-tenants: grocery stores, theatres, medical/education facilities; 25 foot frontage with 20,000 cars per day.

Franchisees are expected to open mulitple locations. All territories in the United States and Canada are spoken for save the Seattle area, which requires potential franchisees to committ to a minimum of 10 locations. At the end of 2015, the 100 franchised locations were owned by 45 entities.

Looking at 2016, the following states are expected to see three or more locations: Arizona (4), California (19), Florida (4), Illinois (5), Kentucky (3), Massachusetts (3), Michigan (3), North Carolina (4), Pennsylvania (3), Texas.