LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwired - Nov 13, 2013) - Blaze Fast-Fire'd Pizza, the leading build your own artisanal pizza chain, today announced that Saddles Blazin', LLC, a subsidiary of Paradigm Investment Group, has signed an agreement to develop 19 franchise locations across a southern corridor that includes San Antonio TX, Austin TX, New Orleans LA, Jackson MS and Birmingham AL. It was also announced that OC Enterprises, LLC has signed a franchise agreement to develop six Blaze Pizza restaurants in Raleigh-Durham, NC.

"We expect that Blaze Pizza will pioneer a better pizza category much like Chipotle did with burritos and Five Guys did with burgers," said Don Wollan, president of Paradigm Investment Group. "Chef Brad has created a fast scalable artisanal pizza that is simply amazing. And, with pizza arguably more popular than burgers, the opportunity for Blaze Pizza is huge. We can't wait to get started."

Paradigm Investment Group, led by Don Wollan, Brian Kelley and Greg Hazard, is the operator of 95 Hardee's franchise restaurants throughout Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and Florida. Prior to founding Paradigm, Mr. Wollan operated over 70 Burger King and TGI Fridays franchises. In 2010, Paradigm was honored as the top franchisee in the entire CKE chain of restaurants. In 2011 & 2012, Paradigm was recognized twice as CKE's Developer of the Year.

OC Enterprises, owned by Russell and Loreen Hansen, operates four Five Guys restaurants in Ohio and is consistently ranked in the top ten franchisees nationwide for territory performance. "When you think about it, there really isn't a place to get a great custom pizza really fast," said Mr. Hansen. "This is a big opportunity in the fast food landscape and we plan to fill it."

With the addition of these two franchise agreements, Blaze Pizza now has a development pipeline of 209 restaurants spread across 19 states and Washington DC. Today, Southern California is "sold out" with 11 franchise groups committed to building 70 restaurants over the next five years. Previously announced markets already under development include New York City, Chicago, Miami, Baltimore/Washington DC, Indianapolis, Detroit, Houston, Milwaukee, Madison, Columbus, Boise, Rapid City and the San Francisco Bay Area. 

About Blaze Pizza

Blaze Pizza uses an interactive ordering format that allows guests to create their own custom artisanal pizzas at freakishly fast speed -- each for around $7.00. Every Blaze Pizza restaurant makes its own dough from scratch using a recipe that requires a 24-hour fermentation period to produce its signature light-as-air, crisp crust. Guests watch as each perfectly proofed dough ball is pressed into a generous 11-inch crust. Next, they travel down the assembly line to "co-create" a signature pizza or design one of their own -- choosing from more than 40 fresh-made sauces, hand-selected vegetables and a variety of artisanal meats and cheeses. Pizzas are "fast-fire'd" in a blazing-hot oven and ready in a scant 180 seconds. Blaze Pizza's menu also features signature salads, fresh lemonades, craft beer and wine, and house-made S'more Pies. For pizza fans with specific dietary needs, Blaze Pizza offers gluten-free dough and vegan cheese. The prototypical store is 2,400 square-feet with seating for about 60 guests.

A creation of Elise and Rick Wetzel (founder of Wetzel's Pretzels), the concept is backed by investors including Maria Shriver, movie producer John Davis and Boston Red Sox co-owner Tom Werner, and includes the talents of highly acclaimed Executive Chef Bradford Kent. The company, which has been featured by CNBC, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes and Good Morning America Live, was founded in Los Angeles and is now expanding nationwide. For more information, please visit www.blazepizza.com  or www.facebook.com/blazepizza.