US pizza retailer plans Gulf expansion after Alshaya deal

Blaze Fast-Fire'd Pizza set to open 100 restaurants in region, with debut in Kuwait and the UAE
Completed pizzas are ready for the oven at Blaze Fast Fired Pizza on the Plaza in Old Towne Orange Customers may buildyourown pizza or order one of the signature pizzas from the menu ADDITIONAL INFORMATION blazepizza 061615 MARK RIGHTMIRE THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
By Staff writer
Mon 28 Aug 2017 12:56 PM

Blaze Fast-Fire'd Pizza, the US-based fast-casual pizza chain, has announced an exclusive development agreement with Kuwait-based MH Alshaya Co to expand across the Middle East and Northern Africa.

The agreement provides for the development of 100 restaurants in 11 countries, including the UAE, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Egypt, and Morocco, with the first five restaurants scheduled to open in Kuwait and the UAE in 2018.

The partnership with Alshaya marks the first expansion of Blaze Pizza outside of North America and represents the largest development deal in the brand's history, a statement said.

"There is really only one 'best way' to take your brand overseas and that is to partner with Alshaya," said Rick Wetzel, co-founder of Blaze Pizza. "For some time, we've been receiving requests to bring our brand to the Middle East. Now that we've partnered with Alshaya, we're happy to say that we will be there soon."

The build-your-own pizza chain recently opened its milestone 200th restaurant and has agreements in place to open more than 400 additional locations across the US, Canada, the Middle East and Northern Africa.

The agreement with Alshaya includes the development of both traditional and delivery-only formats.

"Blaze Pizza is a very exciting and disruptive brand that fits nicely into our restaurant portfolio alongside Starbucks and Shake Shack," said Mohammed Alshaya, executive chairman of MH Alshaya Co.

"With its simple approach to fast, authentic, customizable pizza, we see a tremendous opportunity to build Blaze into the dominant pizza brand in the Middle East and throughout the region."

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