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Blaze Pizza has signed agreements to open 16 restaurants, across three states, in the first quarter of this year, including stores in Texas, Florida and Tennessee, a news release said. As part of the signings, Blaze will grow its presence in key target markets including Austin, Texas, along with Panama City, Florida and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
Spearheading Blaze Pizza's development in Texas is multi-unit operator and CEO of Carpo Pizza Enterprises Kelsey Irvine, who plans to develop 10 locations in greater Austin. The 26-year-old franchisee brings extensive experience in the franchising industry, currently operating 11 Jersey Mike's franchise locations in addition to his Blaze partnership. Texas continues to be a prime growth market for Blaze Pizza, with four stores opening in Dallas this spring.
"Through my family's business, I gained an understanding of franchising at a very young age, and have seen firsthand the unlimited potential this industry can offer," Irvine said in the release. "When I was introduced to Blaze Pizza, I immediately recognized that the strength of its business model coupled with an exceptional high-quality product was a recipe for success, and am thrilled to be coming onboard in the midst of an exciting period of growth."
Blaze Pizza has also signed a deal with franchisee, Kunal Patel, to expand his business's presence throughout the Southeast with six units. Patel has locations under development in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and Panama City, Florida, with plans to continue growing throughout the Florida panhandle, Alabama and Mississippi over the next several years. Patel and his family also own and operate a variety of hotel properties nationwide, bringing a unique expertise in hospitality and guest services to the franchise.
"Blaze Pizza kicked off this year with tremendous momentum, which our development team has leveraged to propel our franchise growth efforts, as reflected by these recent multi-unit deal signings. We recognize that our franchisees are integral to the brand's ongoing success, and are proud that our unparalleled support system and unwavering commitment to operational excellence have attracted experienced multi-unit operators like Kelsey and Kunal," Ed Yancey, Blaze Pizza vice president of franchise development, said in the release. "Texas and the Southeast have continued to be ideal markets for our brand, and we look forward to tapping into the wealth of potential in these regions while exponentially expanding our footprint over the next few years."
Blaze Pizza is based in Los Angeles and has more than 340 restaurants across 41 states and six countries.