I ate the same meal from 2 of the fiercest competitors in fast-casual pizza and found that MOD Pizza beat Blaze Pizza in almost every category
Irene Jiang / Business Insider
- Blaze Pizza and MOD Pizza are two competitors leading the fast-casual pizza industry.
- They've been neck-and-neck in the race, but this year MOD's systemwide sales growth outpaced Blaze's by far, according to Nation's Restaurant News.
- I went to the Blaze Pizza on Staten Island, New York, and the MOD Pizza in Bellevue, Washington, to see what the chains were doing differently.
- My meal at MOD won out on all fronts, including speed, taste, and customizability. However, Blaze did make a better dessert.
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There's more than one way to fire a pie.
And there's more than one way to run a national chain of fast-casual restaurants serving made-to-order personal pizzas. MOD Pizza and Blaze Pizza have been neck-and-neck in the fast-casual-pizza race for a while. Blaze was dubbed the fastest-growing restaurant chain in history by research firm Technomic in 2017.
But, in 2019 MOD's growth has blown Blaze's out of the water, with systemwide sales growing more than 44%, according to Nation's Restaurant News. The Seattle-based chain plans to reach 1,000 locations in the next five years.
The two chains have near-identical concepts: speedy, customizable, freshly made pizzas with grab-and-go sides and beer on tap.
So who does it better?
Since I'm from Seattle, MOD was my go-to fast-casual pizza first. But I frequently ate at Blaze during my college years in the Midwest. I hadn't been to either in years, so I didn't have a favorite going into this taste test.
I went to both MOD and Blaze to compare dining experiences. I ordered largely the same meal: a side salad, a bread-based appetizer, a custom pizza, a chocolate-based dessert, and a beer on tap.
Here's how they compared: