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A CEO’s Take on Her Italian Roots and How to Succeed in Food Retail

How one CEO is turning her family's Italian sauces into a nationwide favorite.
Photo by Pirro’s Sauces

Brianna Pirro is not only working in food retail, she’s thriving in it!

After her father’s passing in 2016, Pirro decided that she would continue her father’s legacy, Pirro’s Sauces; Italian-style sauces made from timeless family recipes with handpicked ingredients.

What started as a humble family-owned business, Brianna has supercharged into a nationwide commodity.

We wanted to know, what is the secret ingredient to the success of this Italian sauce company? Brianna shares how to succeed in food retail and pays an ode to her Italian roots.

You use your family’s original recipes to make these Italian sauces. What are your earliest memories of the sauces?

My family is originally from Chicago, but at one time we all packed up and moved to Florida for several years.  My first memory is eating penne pasta with my Grandma Pirro’s homemade marinara after swimming in her pool all day.

What motivated you to take on Pirro’s Sauces after your father’s passing?

After he passed, I really just wanted to continue to share his love for family and food with the world because it was a shared passion of ours. I realized that the sauce company was the perfect vehicle to do that with. It’s really nice to know that his memory is still alive within our growing company.

Pirro’s Sauces started as a small family endeavor. Now, it’s located all over the country! How did you do it?

It’s a lot of hard work and a leap of faith. Once I wanted to commit full-time, I quit my job, moved back in with my mom, and didn’t make any money for two years. I feel that if you really want to succeed, you need to make sacrifices in order to truly appreciate success.

Do you have a mantra to succeed in food retail? If so, what is it?

I wouldn’t say that I have a mantra per se but in my heart, I know that failure is not an option. Also, I always look for the positives in any situation. Even if something bad happens, I interpret it as a learning experience. I also have a lot of gratitude for how far I have come and the people I have surrounded myself with that have helped me succeed.

If you could pass on advice for anyone looking to break into the food retail industry, what would it be?

Grow your business slowly and make sure you have a great product and an attractive label.  Don’t let your ego get in the way. Everyone has a new hot product to offer. The difference is being authentic to who you are as a person and what purpose your company serves. Being authentic is really what makes a company stand out.

Has your Italian roots shaped the way you do business or communicate with others?

Of course. Being Italian means, you are part of a big family, it’s usually pretty loud, and everything happens around food. This has helped me feel confident in the business world and form relationships with a lot of people on a personal level, like buyers. 

Last question, what’s your favorite recipe to make with Pirro’s Sauces?

Most recently, I have been loving Eggplant Parmesan.  It takes a long time to make but it is so worth it when dinner is ready.  And not to brag, but our marinara compliments it perfectly.

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