Blaze Names Beto Guajardo CEO

Blaze Names Beto Guajardo CEO
A Blaze Pizza store. The company was founded in 2011.

Blaze Pizza has named a food industry veteran as its new chief executive.
Beto Guajardo is now in charge of the Pasadena-based pizza chain. He replaces Mandy Shaw, who led Blaze for nearly five years until leaving in November.

Guajardo had previously served as president at Focus Brands International – owner of Schlotzsky’s, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Auntie Anne’s, Cinnabon, Jamba, McAlister’s Deli and Seattle’s Best Coffee – where he oversaw more than $400 million of chain sales in over 50 markets with 1,900 restaurants and 100 franchisees. Focus Brands, based in Sandy Springs, Georgia, is owned by Roark Capital Group, a private equity firm based in Atlanta.

“I am incredibly energized and honored to be joining the Blaze Pizza team,” Guajardo said in a statement earlier this month regarding his appointment. “This is an exciting time for the brand, and I’m eager to continue the initiatives underway to enhance restaurant excellence and provide value for our franchisees and customers. We have significant opportunities ahead, and I look forward to working with the team to accelerate our next phase of growth.”

Prior to joining Focus Brands, Guajardo served as senior vice president of global strategy at Starbucks, where he led several initiatives including Starbucks Delivery, CRM technology, its go-to-market strategy, new store development and innovation. He was also instrumental in restructuring the coffee company to focus on investments for long-term growth.

Guajardo previously held senior leadership positions at Levi Strauss & Co., Avon Cosmetics and McKinsey & Co.
Blaze, which has counted Los Angeles Lakers star Lebron James as an investor and spokesman, has more than 330 locations in 38 states and six countries.

Rahul Aggarwal, a partner at Brentwood Associates, a West L.A.-based private equity firm that has a significant ownership stake in Blaze, said the firm was excited to start the new year with Guajardo at the helm.

“Blaze is an important brand in our portfolio, and Beto has extensive executive-level experience leading global restaurant brands and building high-performing teams,” Aggarwal said in a statement. “I am confident that he has the experience and strategic vision to lead Blaze, its franchisees and employees to achieve new levels of success in the future.”
Aggarwal currently serves as a director of Blaze.

No posts to display