Blaze Pizza to Leave Its Pasadena HQ


Blaze Pizza, a popular make-your-own-pizza franchise, is moving its headquarters from Pasadena to Atlanta.

The company announced the move earlier this month, joining a long list of companies that have left the Golden State. Blaze Pizza will officially move in September.

Several companies that pull in high revenue figures have either left Los Angeles or were swallowed by companies in other states in acquisition deals in recent years. Hilton Hotel Corp. moved its headquarters to Virginia in 2013, while defense company Parsons Corp. relocated from Pasadena to Washington, D.C. in 2019. In March, Aerospace Corp. moved its headquarters from El Segundo to Virginia, and Neutrogena Corp. left Westchester for New Jersey in April.

But while several companies have left the city and the state to less costly states often thought of as being more business friendly, the announcement from Blaze did not include some of the common reasons for moving out of the state such as corporate taxes or minimum wage laws.

“California is where this brand was born more than a decade ago, and we have tremendous heart for communities across the state where so many of our restaurants are,” Beto Guajardo, chief executive of Blaze Pizza, said in a statement. “Moving our corporate headquarters to Atlanta will help us drive our next wave of growth.”

Blaze Pizza Chief Executive Beto Guajardo

The company’s headquarters houses roughly 60 employees. Paul Little, president and chief executive of the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce and Civic Association, said moving to Atlanta is unlikely to save the company a significant amount of money.

“We did a survey a few years ago, and one of the things we asked was why larger companies relocated to Pasadena,” said Little. “The vast majority of them said, ‘this is where the CEO wanted to be because the CEO lives near here.’ So it’s not uncommon for companies to move headquarters because of where the CEO lives, or to be in proximity with where they want to expand to.”

“Moving the headquarters there (to Atlanta), while disappointing, isn’t necessarily a massive surprise,” Little added.

Blaze was started in 2011 by the husband and wife duo of Rick and Elise Wetzel (who also founded Pasadena-based Wetzel’s Pretzels) and quickly grew to over 330 restaurants across 38 countries. Today, 40% of Blaze Pizza restaurants are in California.

Guajardo, the former president of Atlanta-based Focus Brands International and Atlanta-based Schlotzsky’s, became the new CEO of Blaze back in 2023.

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