Mandy Shaw, president and CEO of Blaze Pizza

Blaze Pizza’s Mandy Shaw Named to NRN’s Most Influential Women List

Shaw, who ascended to Blaze's top post in 2019, is one of the “25 most influential women in foodservice," but female CEOs are still rare in restaurant chains.

  • Blaze Pizza’s Mandy Shaw, named one of the most influential women in the foodservice industry, previously served as CIO and CFO of Bloomin’ Brands.
  • To increase sales, Shaw has said that restaurants need to add more channels so customers will have easier accessibility to products.

Related: Yum Brands to help young women, people of color become franchisees

Mandy Shaw, the president and CEO of Blaze Pizza, has been named to Nation’s Restaurant News’ Power List of the “25 most influential women in foodservice.”

Shaw was the fast-casual chain’s chief financial officer before taking over as CEO in November 2019. Prior to coming to Blaze Pizza in 2018, she worked for 12 years as chief accounting officer, CIO and CFO of Bloomin’ Brands, one of the world’s largest casual dining companies. She moved into Blaze Pizza’s top position just months before the pandemic hit in March 2020.

In the introduction to its Power List covering women of influence, NRN pointed out that female CEOs still comprise “a tiny fraction among large chains, despite the fact that women represent a significant portion of the workforce.” The list included Frances Allen, CEO of Checkers and Rally’s; Sandra Cochran, president and CEO of Cracker Barrel; Pinky Cole, founder and CEO of Slutty Vegan; Julie Felss Masino, president, international of Taco Bell; Cheryl Henry, president and CEO of Ruth’s Chris Hospitality Group; Lisa Ingram, president and CEO of White Castle; Debbie Roberts, CEO of Panera; Claudia San Pedro, president of Sonic Drive-In; Jennifer Schuler, CEO of Wetzel’s Pretzels; Tracy Skeans, COO of Yum! Brands; Lynsi Snyder, owner and president of In-N-Out Burger; and Kelli Valade, CEO of Red Lobster.

In an October 2021 interview with Fast Casual, Shaw noted that the pandemic “sparked new consumer behaviors and demands, but it really leaned in on the necessity of convenience … This demand for accessibility is not going away, and a survey conducted by VIPinsiders says that more than 50% of consumers will still use curbside pickup as opposed to dine-in post-pandemic.”

“The more channels you have, the higher your sales volumes, because you can’t force [customers] to only use one avenue of getting your product,” Shaw added.

Speed and reliability will remain key factors in customer satisfaction, Shaw told Fast Casual.  “The last key component to our future will be a focus on technology,” she continued, adding that Blaze Pizza had launched a new, redesigned mobile app in October that will offer “a faster and more intuitive way to re-order their Blaze favorites or create their own great-tasting pizza made exactly how they want.”

In 2021, Blaze Pizza opened 14 new stores in key markets in Texas, Florida, Nevada, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Georgia and California. In March 2022, the company announced the signing of a franchise agreement that would open three new units in southern Tennessee. The company is also looking for franchisees in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, Colorado, Virginia and across the Northeast.