LeBron James loans star power to Blaze Pizza, which hopes to grow with third-party delivery

A small California pizza chain is hoping to grow through the use of third-party delivery services to take on bigger household pizza delivery franchises, and its using one of its most notable investors to help build brand identity.

Blaze Pizza co-founder, Rick Wetzel, recently said he's hoping his company can take on pizza delivery giants like Domino's, Papa John's and Pizza Hut. And Daniela Simpson, Blaze Pizza's general manager of the digital growth division, told FOX Business they can do this thanks to third-party delivery companies.

"[Those companies] have had quite a monopoly on delivery," Simpson said. "But now with Postmates, DoorDash, Uber Eats, it's democratized the pizza-delivery market."

Considering Blaze Pizza, founded in Pasadena, California, in 2012, made about $326 million in sales while competitors like Domino's raked in $3.4 billion, they have some room to grow. Blaze plans to open 50 more stores which will bring their store count to around 400 nationwide.

Simpson remains optimistic. She told FOX Business now these third-party delivery companies can help get their pizzas into more hands quickly.

"We are jumping on that wave," Simpson said. "Previously, consumers didn't really have any other options because the delivery companies had their own fleet and drivers, and smaller companies couldn't afford that."

The brand is getting help with name recognition from one of its early investors: Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James.

James put on his Blaze Pizza shirt and baseball hat and hit the streets of his hometown of Akron, Ohio, to promote a larger pizza that was just added to the menu.

 He's reprising his role from a promotional 2016 video for Blaze, which That video garnered millions of views and, according to Blaze Pizza, really increased their footprint in the pizza restaurant community.

"Because of these third-party providers growing so dramatically, this is really disrupting how consumers think of food delivery."

- Daniela Simpson, Blaze Pizza's general manager of the digital growth division

In the viral video from 2016, James was posing as "Ron," Blaze Pizza's newest team member as he served pizza to customers in Pasadena. He towered above his coworkers as people started to wonder if they knew him from somewhere.

Hilariously enough, one woman even said he looked like his former teammate Dwyane Wade.

LeBron James out delivering pizzas

“I get that a lot," James said to her. "I’ve heard of that guy, too."

In the latest video, the power forward, who was an early investor in the company, took the pizzas to the street.

People were surprised and even took selfies with him, all while he was touting Blaze Pizza.


The purpose of this partnership is to promote larger sharable pizzas which will be upgraded for no extra charge from Sept. 9-12 at some locations. After that promotion ends, they're launching free delivery from Sept. 13-29 at certain locations as well.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
DPZ DOMINO'S PIZZA INC. 510.01 +0.93 +0.18%
YUM YUM! BRANDS INC. 134.67 -1.19 -0.88%