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24 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • MARCH 2017 a pro you should know include a range of all the popular styles, like IPAs, domestics, ales, stouts and wheat beer, so there's always a range, but we also source many local and unique brands for our guests to try. FE&S: How many Blast & Brew locations exist and will franchisees be involved? What is the growth plan? JF: We currently have 9 total locations with 12 total in progress, a mix of some corporate-owned and franchise stores. With the fast-casual pizza segment so crowded right now, we have to be more strategic in our growth plans. We want to make sure our locations have a high probability of success. We're certainly positioning Blast & Brew as our growth brand. FE&S: Who are your core customers for this brand? JF: We still offer a family-friendly environment so you'll see many young couples with children, but also groups of individuals of all ages looking to socialize or have some pizza and beer and watch their favorite sports team. But we're also penetrating the craft beer aficionado who is interested in trying the various beers that are out there, which can be difficult and financially challenging to do on your own terms. FE&S: What are you looking for when you select franchisees? JF: The most important thing for us is that they have experience. It's critical that they understand the benchmarks for success and know how to hire correctly and focus on building a solid team and great guest experience. To support conversion to Blast & Brew, we help set up the self-pour beer systems and make sure the POS is properly integrated and we also help with training, which is important for this concept. We're also looking to grow franchisees across the Southwestern region of the U.S., including Phoenix, Ariz., Dallas and college towns. Left: Customers can sample freely from the wall of beers or seek assistance in beer-food pairings from a "beer genius." Above: Blast & Brew combines custom pizzas with a self-pour beer concept.