Right this moment, Blaze Fast Fire'd Pizza has 299 restaurants operating in five countries. But in the next four years or so, the company hopes to fire that up to 1,000 restaurants in at least six countries. 

Blaze company executives plan to turn up the heat in Dallas-Fort Worth, specifically, with the prospect of opening 18 to 20 pizza joints in the next three years. "Dallas-Fort Worth is one of our focus markets," says Chief Development Officer and President of International Carolyne Canady.

Name a North Texas city and Canady is probably looking at it: Denton, Dallas, Plano, Garland, Richardson, Mesquite, Carrollton and Irving are examples she gave. Leases are not yet signed for the 18 to 20 anticipated restaurants, and Canady says new and existing franchisees will be operating the restaurants in North Texas.

Blaze is an order-at-the-counter pizza joint where pies bake for about 3 minutes in a (very hot) oven. While the menu contains plenty of signature pizzas, many customers go for the build-your-own option. Canady's order, for instance, is a pepperoni and mozzarella pizza topped with jalapenos, black olives and banana peppers.

Texas' first Blaze Pizza, backed by LeBron James, is open in Frisco

The first Blaze in Dallas-Fort Worth opened in Frisco in 2015. A former Frisco franchisee Greg Hazard noted that "the brand is focused on millennials," and Canady reiterated that as the company continues to grow in 2018, though she says Blaze is also popular with families (which is likely the case in Frisco, for instance).

Blaze reported $279 million in sales in 2017, which puts it well behind pizza giants like Domino's ($5.93 billion in U.S. sales) and Pizza Hut ($5.51 billion). But Blaze Pizza CEO Jim Mizes says in a statement he believes "we have the people, processes and systems in place to achieve our goal of becoming a billion-dollar brand by our tenth birthday," which will be in 2022. Forbes says Blaze is "gaining on" Domino's and Pizza Hut.

Blaze joins a competitive fast-casual pizza market. "Before the fast-casual category erupted, you couldn't get fresh, fast pizza for lunch," Canady says. Today, companies like Mod Pizza and Pie Five Pizza are growing in Dallas-Fort Worth, racing against companies like Blaze. 

At Blaze, customers can point out the toppings that go on their personal pizzas. The pizzas are cooked quickly in a hot oven.

At Blaze, customers can point out the toppings that go on their personal pizzas. The pizzas are cooked quickly in a hot oven.

Allison Slomowitz/Special Contributor

Spin! Neapolitan Pizza could also be considered a competitor, though some locations have closed in the Dallas area.

One of the ways Blaze has made a name for itself is through its famous investor, basketball player LeBron James. In addition to contributing money to Blaze, he is also a franchisee for restaurants in Chicago and Miami; he serves as a spokesperson, too. (James wasn't available for an interview, but you must know that we asked for one.) Other celebrity investors in Blaze include journalist and author Maria Shriver and Boston Red Sox chairman Tom Werner.

Blaze currently operates four restaurants in Dallas-Fort Worth: Frisco, Arlington, Fort Worth and The Colony.

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