Blaze Fast-Fire'd Pizza today announced that Lessing's Hospitality Group, a New York-based restaurant and catering company, has signed an agreement to develop 10 franchise stores in the New York Metro area, Long Island, Westchester and Rockland counties and southern Connecticut.

This agreement brings Blaze Pizza's total number of franchise stores under development to 24 locations, with several planned to open this spring. This new commitment will allow Blaze Pizza to make its debut in two new states.

"We believe that Blaze Pizza is well positioned to capture the leadership position in the rapidly emerging build-your-own pizza category," said Michael Lessing, chief operating officer of Lessing's. "It's very exciting to be involved in the rollout of a young, well-developed concept and we know that they value our experience and input."

Lessing's Hospitality Group is the fourth area developer in Blaze Pizza's growing franchise network. Blaze Pizza is on track to have 20 area developers under contract by the end of 2013. The first New York restaurant is scheduled to open in Long Island this summer in a location that has not yet been announced.

A sixth-generation, family owned and operated food service business, Lessing's was the first company to serve Coca-Cola in Manhattan. Lessing's full-service restaurants include four-star Mirabelle, the waterfront View Restaurant, and trademark "Main Street" locations including Post Office Café, Maxwell's, Library Café and Finnegan's.

"The addition of stores in New York and Connecticut will really help in our plans to build Blaze Pizza into a national brand," said Elise Wetzel, president of Blaze Pizza.

The New York and Connecticut stores will be part of a plan to build a concentration of Blaze Pizza restaurants in the Northeast, including New Jersey, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C.

Read more about franchising and growth.

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