A half-decade into the fast-casual, fast-fired pizza boom, two concepts have separated themselves from the pack. Over the last two years, Bellevue, WA-based MOD Pizza and Pasadena, CA’s own Blaze Pizza have collected more investment capital, sold more pizzas and built more stores than their next-generation pizza rivals (Pie Five, PizzaRev and Pieology, to name a few).

At this point, growth is the word. MOD jumped ahead of Blaze last year by building out 110 new location (increasing its footprint by greater than 50%) while Blaze opened 65 new locations. Both concepts have stated that the new-store goal for 2018 is 100 openings.

Blaze will have to prove it, as the company has yet to hit that target. We’re estimating more like 85-90 units for 2018. However, the franchisee pipeline is full and franchisees are chomping at the bit. If 100 aren’t in the cards this year, certainly the next, and you can expect the rate of growth to increase.

Unlike Blaze (98% franchised), the MOD model is heavy on company-owned stores (roughly a 75/25 split). With another round of funding closed to the tune of $33 million at the end of 2017 and a $40 million credit facility, MOD has the means and ability to meet and beat that target.

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