The husband and wife entrepreneur team behind Blaze Pizza, Wetzel’s Pretzels and iSold It On eBay share some of the lessons they’ve learned and some of the secrets to their continued success.
From its initial location in Irvine, Blaze Pizza has grown to over 200 locations nationwide. Elise & Rick Wetzel, the husband and wife team behind not only Blaze Pizza, but Wetzel’s Pretzels and iSold It On eBay, share some of the lessons they’ve learned in their years creating and running businesses, as well as some advice on how to avoid early pitfalls with your own young businesses.
The first Blaze Pizza restaurant opened on Aug. 6, 2012, in Irvine, Calif., and quickly gained attention for its chef-driven recipes, thoughtful interior design, and a service culture that celebrates individuality. Recently named ‘#1 Brand of the Year’ in the 2017 Fast Casual Top 100, the fast-growing chain currently operates over 200 restaurants in 34 states and Canada, including the major metropolitan areas of Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Las Vegas, Boston, and Toronto. Recently the company signed an international development deal that will take the brand to Dubai and Kuwait in 2018. The concept is backed by private equity firm Brentwood Associates and founding investors that include LeBron James, Maria Shriver, movie producer John Davis and Boston Red Sox co-owner Tom Werner.
Elise & Rick Wetzel are longtime Pasadena residents. After attending business school, they both worked in brand management at Nestle before embarking on their entrepreneurial careers. Blaze Pizza is their third start-up, following Wetzel’s Pretzels and iSold It on eBay.