Canadian pizza maker moving swiftly into retail

Canadian pizza maker moving swiftly into retail

TORONTO — General Assembly Holdings Ltd. (GA Pizza) has been on quite the run this year. The fast-casual, Toronto pizza restaurant turned omnichannel consumer packaged goods brand earlier this year closed an oversubscribed $13 million Series A round.

The funds allowed the company to secure a wholly owned master production facility and increase production to 5,000 units per day by the second quarter of 2021. GA Pizza said it hopes to increase output to 10,000 units per day by the third quarter of 2021, which would allow for significant growth of the company’s “GA Pizza Club” subscription membership base and scaling of the company’s grocery sales across Canada. In addition to expansion plans, GA Pizza is working to offer more plant-based products through a partnership with Impossible Foods.

Founded by Ali Khan Lalani in 2017 as a fast-casual pizza chain, GA Pizza was hitting its stride when the pandemic hit. As COVID-19 forced foodservice venues to close, GA Pizza pivoted into CPG, which led to the development of a ready-to-eat frozen pizza line.

“We believe that everyday culinary moments should be easy and still delicious,” Mr. Lalani said in February when the funding round was announced. “We’re constantly striving for ‘better’ in every area of our business. Whether we’re re-thinking the frozen pizza category from the ground up, enhancing our e-commerce experience, or diverting waste from landfills through responsible packaging solutions.”

Flash forward to earlier this month and GA Pizza’s growth continues. The company on Aug. 4 announced a new partnership with Propel Natural Brands, a CPG, better-for-you and natural foods food broker specializing in complete sales management of the Canadian market for natural and specialty product manufacturers. Mr. Lalani said the partnership will deepen GA Pizza’s retail strategy and rapidly scale its retail footprint across Canada.

“We’re continuously finding new ways to deliver unrivalled pizza experiences to consumers,” he said. “We’re carving out a new premium frozen category and reinventing pizza night for pizza lovers everywhere. Our partnership with Propel Natural Brands will help us gain additional access to industry connections and relationships that are integral for GA Pizza’s growth and path forward.”

A day later, on Aug. 5, GA Pizza debuted a new direct-to-consumer website that includes a one-time purchase option for the company’s freshly frozen, naturally leavened pizza. For subscribers, the website now includes options to increase delivery frequency to 4-, 6-, or 8-week delivery (available for all stack sizes), and a new “Skip Next Delivery” option. The new website also features the first look at the company’s rebrand, which includes a new expansive color palette, expressive typography, organic illustrations, and a new GA Pizza logo and siren. The new brand system will be seen across all channels, Mr. Lalani said.

“We needed a brand that could go everywhere with us and meet our pizza lovers wherever they are,” he said. “From the retail shelf to doorsteps, to pop-up pizza experiences, and of course, our restaurant. The new GA brand exemplifies the versatility we need as we continue to scale and take pizza to new heights.”