Tenant Talk: Is This The Hottest Chain Ever?
Amazon Go could be the 3rd largest convenience store in the country in just a few years. (Source) Beyond the bizarre reality of walking “into” an online retail giant, these stores are revolutionary due to the fact that there are no cashiers. Genius! – If there’s anything millennials hate its face-to-face interactions and non-instant transactions.
Amazon hasn’t put brick-and-mortar in the past, but in a Darwinian sense, it has raised the bar. Countless articles, tweets & events now focus on tech and how to appeal to buyers in the digital age. Survival, in the retail and office sectors especially, is all about evolution.
While the extinction of certain tenants is certainly a tragedy, 3 Properties wants to focus on the future and what’s growing. The fact is, we all have to deal with the circle of life.
Welcome to the first installment of a monthly tenant report, our first feature: a hot new QSR pizza place, backed by “royalty”.
Typical Site: 2,000-3,000sf with Private Patio
Prefers: Co-tenancy with Similar Fast-Casual Brands, University Adjacent Locations, Lifestyle & Shopping Centers, Urban Storefronts & Food Courts.
Head of Real Estate: Garrett Snyder
Investors: LeBron James, Maria Shriver, Tom Werner, Maverick Carter, Brentwood Associates…
Quote from National Restaurant News: [Blaze Pizza] debuted in August 2012, in Irvine, Calif., had systemwide revenue of $279 million in 2017, an increase of 51 percent, compared with $185 million the previous year. Same-store sales increased 3.7 percent in 2017, and average unit volume is $1.4 million, the company said.
Blaze Pizza is blowing up. From opening its first store in 2012, the fast-fire pizza chain has erupted into the current 252 locations in 39 states (Source). Within the next year, the Pasadena based company plans to go even further.
Fast Casual reports, “The Alshaya agreement marks the brand’s first expansion beyond North America and is the biggest development deal to date for a chain that has grown from two to 200 franchises in four years, according to the press release. Blaze expects to open 87 restaurants this year, expanding its presence to a total of five countries and 41 U.S. states. Restaurants are will open this year in Kuwait, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.”
While they’re no Amazon or Zappos, the company certainly has its priorities in order. People love to customize, they love fast (like 180 seconds fast) and they love celebrities. One of Blaze’s top investors (and now franchisee) is the “King” himself: LeBron James. CNBC reporting the basketball superstar chose the brand instead of renewing his ($14 Milion – Source) McDonald’s deal and hasn’t looked back since.
What else? Let’s talk tech.
The company recognizes the impact social and online presence has, whether that’s sparking a crowd with a LeBron pizza-party tweet or having a spot dedicated to fan and patron contributions on its homepage. In an effort to continue demand, recently Blaze partnered with Punchh to create a loyalty rewards app. Despite the iOS app having a current App Store rating below 2 stars, that’s just about the only negative you’ll find.
National Restaurant News published an interview on March 2, 2018: “We don’t want to lose the essence of who we are,” Vaideeswaran [CMO of Blaze Pizza] said. “We want to be conscious of leveraging technology that our guests appreciate.” The brand currently has 1 million email subscribers, and the company will continue to use that as a marketing avenue and “touch point.”
Blaze’s core is quality, fresh, fast artisanal pizza but its secondary front is convenience and customer relationships. They want to be accessible, even opening a toll free number for classic pizza ordering (1-877-BLAZE-4-U).
Bottom line: Things are just heating up for Blaze Pizza & the nerds approve.
More reading (for the inner nerd in you):
Fastest Growing Restaurant Chain in History (https://www.businessinsider.com/blaze-pizza-franchising-done-right-2017-7).
Blaze’s Executive Changes (https://www.nrn.com/people/blaze-pizza-names-mandy-shaw-cfo).
Just some thoughts from a millennial nerd.