*While his Cleveland Cavaliers were in Los Angeles playing the Lakers and Clippers last month, LeBron James moonlighted at a local Blaze Pizza spot, working behind the counter as its newest employee, Ron.
— Blaze Pizza (@BlazePizza) March 11, 2016
The athlete, who is an investor in the franchise, was filmed behind the counter carrying pizza boxes and chatting with customers in line for a new commercial, which surfaced Friday on the Internet.
In the spot for the 105-location chain, some customers look suspiciously at the six-foot, eight-inch employee trying to learn the ropes.
“You look familiar,” one woman says before her friend suggests he looks like his former Miami Heat teammate Dwyane Wade.
“I get that alot,” says “Ron.”
The employee training him said, “I keep telling him, he’s got to try basketball.”
More details about LeBron’s investment in Blaze Pizza via Business Insider:
James was an original investor in Blaze Pizza in 2012, with franchise rights for the chain in Miami and Chicago. Last October, James ditched a McDonald’s endorsement deal to commit to becoming a bigger part of Blaze’s marketing campaign.
“This move aligns with LeBron’s brand and his history of helping companies grow faster and bigger as an equity partner,” James’ business manager Maverick Carter told ESPN of the deal.
James’ place in the marketing campaign is part of Blazes’ plan to become the biggest name in the fast-casual business.
“Not just Chipotle, with 1,800 stores. Who’s going to be the Starbucks of fast casual? There’s going to be a shift soon for people to start thinking above Chipotle,” co-founder Rick Wetzel told Bloomberg last April.
The company tripled its sales to $101 million in 2015, compared to the previous year, according to Nation’s Restaurant News. Same-store sales increased 7% in the same time period.
By 2017, Blaze Pizza wants to be the fifth-largest pizza chain in the US, behind Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Little Caesars, and Papa John’s.
Unlike many other chains, at Blaze Pizza, the pizzas are made fresh in front of customers’ eyes.
Employees make the dough by hand, and allow it to rise for 24 hours before serving. Then, customers build their own pizzas, picking from seven cheeses, eight proteins, 20 vegetables, and three sauces. The pies are placed in a extremely hot stone-hearth oven, which takes just three minutes to cook the pie.