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Victor Barry is no stranger to the Italian food game, as the mastermind behind Toronto's wildly popular PIANO PIANO restaurants. But, now, he's set his "Sauron gaze," as he calls it, on a new goal: worldwide frozen pizza domination.
Barry and PIANO PIANO recently acquired General Assembly's line of frozen pizzas, which accumulated $3 million in senior debt obligations before Barry swooped in to save the day, which PIANO PIANO saw as a great opportunity for the two frozen pizza brands to join forces. It had been, according to Barry, a long time coming. "Back in February 2022, General Assembly approached us with a business proposition: They’d take on making PIANO PIANO frozen pizzas in their facility for us. We weren’t interested at the time," he explains. "But, soon after that, both companies realized that we were stronger together with infinite potential as a combined business. Negotiations picked back up and PIANO PIANO acquired GA soon after."
Naturally, owning two frozen pizza empires could pose some difficult questions, including managing both businesses true to their respective forms and vibes. But Barry, true to his affable nature, has a good feeling. "Teaming up with General Assembly allows us to grow our brand. GA had the facility, and the tried-and-true logistics and distribution in place that would allow us to become a national brand, rather than a boutique Toronto product," he says. "Plus, I have decades of experience as a chef, so with my knowhow in deliciousness, we’re just going to keep making both lines better and better."
Barry believes the two lines are complimentary but unique, working together but standing alone. "The two frozen pizza lines are different, but they're really very complimentary. PIANO PIANO is more of a ‘Saturday night staying in with friends’ pizza, while General Assembly is your Wednesday night ‘get dinner on the plate for the kids’ pie," he explains. "By that, I mean General Assembly's specialty is fun and simplicity, and folks know they'll never have to sacrifice quality for it. PIANO PIANO frozen pizzas are for the aficionado that wants restaurant quality pizza—even when it’s a night in. People know the value is there, and understand that they’re getting so much for just $2 to $3 more. Together, we can offer a tasty and f*#king delicious frozen pizza for every occasion."
And, as for the future, Victor Barry has plans to both keep things the same and change them up, playing to the strengths of both PIANO PIANO and General Assembly. "We're obviously going to continue to offer the General Assembly frozen pizza subscription program because it's so popular, and we’ll be adding PIANO PIANO frozen pizzas to the subscription line later this year, as well as a bunch of other products too, like frozen baked pasta, pizzas especially for kids, salad kits, and desserts. And folks will still be able to find GA frozen pizzas in grocery stores across Canada, with more stores bringing both lines on board all the time," he says. "We've got really exciting plans for both pizza lines! I'll be adding some tasty and f*#king delicious touches, and we have some great new packaging and branding innovations set to hit the freezer aisle in time for Canada Day long weekend."
Fans of the frozen pizzas can bring their favourite pies home from independently-owned grocery stores and major chains across the country, or opt to dine-in at the four PIANO PIANO locations in Toronto and Oakville, with another location coming later this year to Hamilton.