pi co toronto

Toronto restaurant runs out of dough during city-wide cheap pizza event

A Toronto restaurant known for their cheap pizza offerings during a popular city-wide event had to apologize after running out of dough.

Mar. 14, otherwise known as Pi Day (3.14, get it?), is a big day every year for pizza chain Pi Co., but of course this first-ever virtual Pi Day came with challenges that could never be expected.

The restaurant that typically inspires lineups for its $3.14 Margherita pie deal did their best to pull off the event as usual, but some locations simply ran out of the dough they needed to keep making pizzas. One co-owner of a location even took to social media to personally apologize for the store being removed from the app without an explanation.

"I am one of the owners of the St. Clair Pi Co location. I apologize to everyone who has not been able to order the promo. Due to extremely high pre-order volume we have had to remove our store from the app temporarily because we have run out of dough," Goran Bjelajac wrote on Facebook.

"Our app is managed through corporate so we were not able to include a message to explain. This was our first ever virtual Pi Day and it was difficult for us to forecast volumes."

Pi Co. President Marc Askenasi told blogTO that each location typically makes 300 to 600 pizzas for the occasion.

"We had to cancel Pi Day 2020 due to the pandemic but wanted to allow Pi Co. customers the chance to celebrate and participate in Pi Day 2021. We didn't know what to expect as it's our first time running this promotion digitally," Askenasi told blogTO.

"After months of testing, in the summer of 2020 we launched our Pi Co. App which went great and we haven't had any major issues. We assumed that we would do approximately the same as volume of orders per location as previous Pi Days but we have double the number of stores we did in 2019 and we prepared substantially more dough for each location."

He echoes Bjelajac's statement that the volume of orders that came in for Pi Day never could have been forecasted.

"When we launched the app in June, we had thousands of orders come through without an issue but for Pi Day, we received thousands upon thousands of orders coming in simultaneously within a very short timeframe. We have never seen anything like this happen before. Long story short, Pi Co. lovers in Toronto broke our app," says Askenasi.

"We had the platform crash several times and our stores ran out of dough insanely fast. We know this happens to the best of companies when the volume coming in far exceeds expectations but didn't expect this to happen to us. We are humbled by the engagement we received and look forward to improving the experience."

He says that to work through the issues of the day, they "were in constant communication" with their delivery partner and app solution provider, and regional managers were in constant contact with "managers and franchisees to understand capacity, bottlenecks and dough volume levels."

"Our community managers were doing their best to be in constant communication with customers that were experiencing difficulty placing their orders," says Askenasi.

"Our community managers were reinforcing the importance of social distancing and respecting others for any customers who elected to show up at our stores to pick-up their pizza. We are presently reviewing all the data that pertains to Pi Day and are already discussing ways to rectify and improve customer experience."

Ultimately, he's hoping for the same thing pretty much all of us are: that by next Pi Day, we won't be worrying about COVID-19, and that an ever increasing number of people can continue to enjoy deals on Pi Co.'s pizza.

Lead photo by

Jesse Milns

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