- Blaze Pizza has appointed Beto Guajardo as its president and CEO, the company announced Wednesday.
- Guajardo previously served as president of Focus Brands International for over two years, according to his LinkedIn profile.
- Guajardo succeeds Amanda Shaw, who became CEO at Blaze in 2019.
Guajardo joins Blaze as it turns toward aggressive growth via franchising. Within the last 18 months, Blaze signed several multi-unit deals, including a 10-unit agreement to open locations in Dallas-Fort Worth. The chain will also open three units in Prince George’s County in Maryland, three units in southern Tennessee and nine units in the Miami area. The company said it ended 2021 with an 18% increase in same-stores sales, 34 new units in its pipeline and 14 units opened. The pizza chain has been exploring pickup and drive-thru lanes as well as smaller, digital-focused off-premise units.
Guajardo has significant experience in growing brands. While at Focus Brands, Guajardo oversaw the international business, which had over $400 million in chain sales in over 50 markets. This included 1,900 restaurants, 100 franchisees and eight brands, according to the press release. Prior to this role, he was president of Schlotzsky's and was responsible for the turnaround of the 370-unit brand, per the release.
Before Focus Brands, Guajardo served as SVP of global strategy at Starbucks for over five years and oversaw several initiatives, including Starbucks Delivery, CRM technology and new store development.