Blaze Fast-Fire'd Pizza announced that Green Brook, N.J.-based AMPAL Group has signed an agreement to develop 10 franchise stores in Central and Northern New Jersey. The first is expected to open later this year in a location that has not yet been announced.

This most recent agreement brings Blaze Pizza's total number of franchise stores under development to 56, with several new restaurants planned to open this summer.

This new commitment will allow Blaze Pizza to make its 2013 debut in at least four new states outside of California, including New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Wisconsin. Development agreements for additional cities and states around the country are being negotiated and are expected to be announced soon.

A creation of Elise and Rick Wetzel (founder of Wetzel's Pretzels), Blaze Pizza is backed by investors including Maria Shriver, movie producer John Davis and Boston Red Sox co-owner Tom Werner, and features the creations of Executive Chef Bradford Kent.

Read more about franchising and growth.

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