Carlo’s Bakery Expands into Canada with Standalone Location and Automated Cake ATMs with Plans for More: Interview

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The famous Carlo’s Bakery has opened its first retail location in Canada in the Port Credit neighbourhood of Mississauga as it also continues to expand its footprint with its unique automated CAKE ATMs across North America.

The ATMs are temperature controlled and restocked daily.

Chris Zownir

Chris Zownir, Managing Partner of Carlo’s Bakery Canada, said the brand began in Canada in 2019 with the CAKE ATMs in Toronto and it rapidly spread the number of automated machines across the country and into the United States.

“During the pandemic, during the lockdowns, we started shipping cake across Canada to people’s doorsteps and then the next progression is we opened up the brick and mortar bakery in Port Credit in January of this year,” he said.

In Canada, the company has about 30 ATM locations in high-traffic areas such as shopping centres. 

“My business partner (Gino Tomaro) grew up in this neighborhood (Port Credit) and there’s a lot of family history here, a lot of connections to this area specifically with our team. And in addition to that we really wanted to pick a location that was community based, that was family oriented, that we could really connect with the community. So that was really important to us,” said Zownir. 

Port Credit location, photo: Michael Lambert via Google Images
Carlo’s Bakery Express ATM at CF Toronto Eaton Centre (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

As for the CAKE ATMs, Zownir said the company is definitely expanding with additional locations throughout Canada as well as in the US. 

“We’ve got some in Las Vegas, South Florida. We’re going to continue to expand. Multiple locations in the US with more coming,” added Zownir.

“My business partner and I, our background is in retail and in automation. We wanted to work with a well-known, established popular brand in the automated space so we partnered with Carlo’s Bakery. They just have an incredible brand, an incredible family history, an incredible product. We wanted to partner with them to bring their product to a modern, retail environment such as high-end automated retail. And when we did we saw some great success with it in terms of people being excited about the machine, the technology, the ease, the fun and playful experience of it. It’s not just about ‘hey I’m hungry I want a piece of cake and I want it right now and that’s the most convenient thing for me to get’. It’s about telling the story of a brand. It’s got Buddy’s voice (brand founder Buddy Valastro) that comes on when you buy a cake that says his common term ‘hey who wants to eat some cake?’, which he says at the end of every show if you watch the TV show Cake Boss.

Carlo’s Bakery Express ATM at CF Toronto Eaton Centre (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

“We’ve incorporated a lot of that fun and playfulness of the brand into the technology. The lights go on, we created a jingle that plays while you’re shopping. We wanted to create an experience that connects people with the brand and something they’re going to remember saying ‘oh my gosh the cake was amazing but the machine was so much fun and we had a lot of fun. What a great experience’.”

Zownir said the company is always looking at different opportunities and if it makes sense to find another location, it is open to expansion. 

“There’s popularity with the brand. Buddy came up to Canada to visit. He’s got a great fan base and people love him and his family and the show and the bakery and the brand. With that popularity of the brand and the product, we’re open to expanding when the time and the location is right for sure,” he said.

At the Port Credit location, the space allows for a savoury program there as well with pizza and sandwiches.

“It’s about creating this memorable experience which we’re really committed to,” said Zownir. 

Carlo’s is a family owned bakery featured on the TLC hit show Cake Boss. Carlo’s, originally opened by Carlo Guastaffero in 1910, was acquired by Bartolo Valastro Sr. in 1964. Since the untimely passing of Bartolo Sr. in 1994, matriarch Mary Valastro and her children Grace, Maddalena, Mary, Lisa and master baker Bartolo Jr. “Buddy” Valastro have expanded the business with the help of their spouses, according to the company’s website.

“Because of the Valastro family’s dedication to quality and excellence, Carlo’s has received national recognition. Master Baker Bartolo Jr. “Buddy” has been featured in numerous publications, such as Modern Bride, and The Knot. Buddy’s cake design was voted by the Today’s Show viewers as best cake in America. He has also appeared in many other media outlets, including multiple appearances on the Food Network, for his intricate sugar art designs specialty cakes and wedding cakes that look just as good as they taste,” said the company.

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