Blaze is gunning to replace your favorite delivery pizza

Illustration for article titled Blaze is gunning to replace your favorite delivery pizza
Photo: Vince Talotta (Toronto Star/Getty Images)

If you’re familiar with the fast-growing pizza chain Blaze, you probably associate it with one of two things: fast, customizable pizzas, or LeBron James. (James is a big investor in the company, and appears in its new commercial.) But you probably don’t associate Blaze with delivery—and the company wants to change that.

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Obviously, delivery is big business for pizza chains. But Blaze’s 11-inch pies might not naturally feel like a fit for football-watching parties, as they’re not quite large enough to split between friends. Now, the chain has announced it’s introducing a larger, 14-inch pie size it’s promoting as more sharable. Blaze has also rolled out new incentives to get customers to think of it as a delivery pizza option, including free upgrades from 11-inch to 14-inch size if you order through blazepizza.com or the Blaze Pizza app between now and September 12. Delivery will, for now, be available only through third-party apps Postmates and DoorDash.

But is that enough to take on the Dominos, Pizza Huts, Papa John’s, and beloved local pizza joints of the world? Blaze’s angle is that its pizzas are fresher and made with better ingredients (that tagline sounds familiar…). But when customers order pizza for delivery, they’re thinking about much more than just which pizza tastes best. Delivery speed and easy ordering are also huge factors, according to Pizza Marketplace Quarterly—and common sense. “Americans can’t get their pizzas fast enough,” Robert Passikoff, president of research consulting firm Brand Keys told PMQ as part of its 2018 “state of the industry” report. “According to our expert loyalist consumers, there’s room for improvement in the delivery area, something the national chains don’t have an exclusive on.”

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Speed could prove to be an opening for Blaze. The whole brand is focused on efficiency—it brags its pizzas are ready in 3 minutes—and if it can bring that same zip to delivery, it may prove to be a contender. But third-party delivery means much of that is out of their control: Sure, Blaze can make its pies quickly, but then it’s up to the DoorDash or Postmates courier to actually get it to you while it’s still hot.

Kate Bernot is a freelance writer and a certified beer judge. She was previously managing editor at The Takeout.

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DISCUSSION

thundercatsarego
thundercatsarego

Here’s the thing with Blaze, in my experience: Their pizzas have a consumption window of about 10 minutes, after which something about it starts to get a bit funky. I don’t know if it’s whatever fast-baking dough they have to use or whatever, but it doesn’t keep very long, which isn’t a great thing for delivery pizzas. If you eat it right away, it’s OK. I’ve eaten in their restaurant a couple of times and it was a perfectly adequate but not outstanding experience. But both times that I picked up a pizza and drove it home, it was gross. The crust had deflated and there was an acrid taste to the whole thing. Two other friends had similar experiences. I’ve never tasted anything like that with regular delivery pizza, only Blaze.