Amandeep Judge has acquired the six-unit My Pie pizza franchise and is hungry for more.
Judge, a Canadian real estate broker in Toronto, decided to make his first move into the restaurant franchise world a year ago, when he bought the Galloway, N.J.-based 1000 Degrees brand, which includes 21 fast-casual restaurants across eight states.
“I wanted to go into the food business because food is something everyone eats, twice or thrice a day, maybe more,” he said.
Judge said he had friends operating pizza restaurants in the U.S., and when the opportunity came up to buy 1000 Degrees, a brand founded in 2014 by Brian Petruzzi, he took it.
Before that sale, however, Petruzzi had been thinking about a merger with My Pie, a similar fast-casual brand based in Arizona, which was also almost all franchised. My Pie now operates in Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Utah and Nevada. That plan to consolidate didn’t come to fruition before Petruzzi decided to sell.
But Judge picked up the ball again after acquiring 1000 Degrees. A few months later, he approached My Pie to see if they might be interested in selling.
My Pie owner John Merendino was, indeed, willing, though he kept one location in Phoenix—which previously was the sole corporate location—to operate as a franchisee. Terms were not disclosed.
Now Judge would like to grow the company with more acquisitions and he’s targeting similarly positioned fast-casual pizza concepts, though he’s open to other types of franchise concepts as well.
“The more volume you have, [the more] you’ll be able to lower down your food prices by negotiating with distributors, right?” said Judge. “When the food cost is lower, obviously the franchisees are happy and making more money.”
1000 Degrees is known for build-your-own Neapolitan and Roman-style pizza, salads and wings, while My Pie is more New York-style pizza, calzones and wings. But Judge said there were many similarities in terms of ingredients used and operations. The two brands will operate separately but will be able to share things like marketing and supply chain costs under one umbrella.
The move will give franchise operators across both systems more support for growth. 1000 Degrees, for example, is expecting to see new restaurant openings in Baltimore, Florida and Pennsylvania in coming months.
Matt Merrill, 1000 Degrees’ director of franchise operations, said in a statement, “We are putting processes and systems in place that the My Pie Pizza franchisees will greatly benefit from. Our goal is to streamline our operations as a unified brand, and help the franchisees achieve a higher earning potential.”
And Judge, who said he was planning to move to Texas, sees additional opportunities for growth by acquisition.
“Even today I was approached by two different brokers, talking about 13 to 14 locations, and, if the price is right, I’ll buy those as well,” he said.
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