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Blaze Fast-Fire'd Pizza has announced that LA Metro Blaze Pizza Holding Co LLC has signed an agreement to open 20 franchise stores in the greater Los Angeles area over the next five years. In addition, three Los Angeles-area restaurant leases have been signed in Torrance, La Canada and Culver City for new stores that will open this summer. Blaze Pizza now has seven franchise groups developing 56 stores in New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Wisconsin and California, with plans to grow to all major metro markets by 2014.

Franchisee LA Metro is led by Peter Koral, founder of premium denim brand "Seven for All Mankind," and entrepreneur Daniel Driz, Koral's business partner for more than 35 years. Restaurateur Chris Heyman, founder of Table 8, is also involved in the franchise venture. Previously, Rolling Hills BP LLC, a franchise group also controlled by Koral and Driz, executed a five-store franchise agreement. Combined, the two franchise entities plan to develop 25 Blaze Pizzas in the area south of Sunset Boulevard and west of the Los Angeles county line.

"Things are moving along quickly with development of our first stores, and we are ready to do more," franchisee Daniel Driz said. "Clearly, Blaze Pizza is leading the development of this new fast casual category. We wanted to secure additional territory so that we could further participate in this fantastic growth opportunity."

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