New CEO drives popular family-centric pizza concept’s expansion with new restaurant openings, franchise incentives and conversion strategy
Driven by the passion of its new CEO, Happy Joe’s Pizza & Ice Cream has embarked on an aggressive expansion across the Midwest – and beyond.
The popular family-centric concept that counts multiple generations of families among its most loyal guests is taking its signature menu and unique business model to new markets with attractive incentives for new and existing franchisees.
In late 2020, Happy Joe’s welcomed 30-year industry veteran Tom Sacco as its new CEO, president and Chief Happiness Officer. Under Sacco’s direction, the brand has already opened two new franchise units in Urbandale and Cascade, Iowa. An existing franchisee in St. Louis signed on to expand his Happy Joe’s portfolio, with a new location set to open in St. Peters, Missouri this June. Additionally, Happy Joe’s is slated to open a company location in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin in July. The four total new openings are more than Happy Joe’s has opened over the last five years combined.
“When you mention Happy Joe’s to people in the Midwest, it stirs up a lot of emotion and always brings a smile,” Sacco said. “We want more communities in this great country to be able to experience the spirit that is Happy Joe’s. Our brand has so much to offer, from the high-quality, gourmet pizza we serve to the lasting memories created in our restaurants. I’m thrilled to be at the helm of such an inspiring company at such a transformational moment in time. I can’t wait to see the progress we will continue to make.”
For the young – and young at heart – there’s nothing like a birthday celebration at Happy Joe’s – complete with sirens, horns, hand-scooped ice cream and a special song from the team. Adults can enjoy their meals with beer or wine. And pizza lovers marvel at the abundant toppings on Happy Joe’s specialty pies – such as 80 pepperonis stacked on a large pepperoni pizza!
Since Sacco joined the Happy Joe’s team, the brand has streamlined royalties to create a more mutually beneficial business practice and recently introduced new, limited-time development incentives for new franchisees. The originators of the Taco Pizza are encouraging new beginnings for restaurant-curious entrepreneurs looking for a successful, proven brand by waiving their initial Happy Joe’s franchise fee, reducing royalties to 2% during the first year of operation and 4% during the second year of operation. Full royalty does not kick in until the 25th month of operation.
The company is also maximizing a strategy in which operators that have struggled or closed during Covid-19 can convert their existing concept into a Happy Joe’s. This enables franchisees to take on a lower build-out cost and quicker turnaround compared to building from the ground up. In most cases, the current conversion costs are offset by Happy Joe’s franchise investment incentives.
“Happy Joe’s is different from other franchisors in that we’re functionally and financially sound, our franchisees are coming off a record year – in spite of the pandemic – and our brand nurtures an emotional connection with our guests that others simply can’t replicate,” Sacco said. “With the addition of franchise veteran Kat Davidson leading our franchise development efforts, we’re looking forward to expanding more of our happy places to hundreds and hundreds of areas outside of the Midwest, all across the Sun Belt and small-town USA.”
To learn more about Happy Joe’s franchise opportunities, email Kat Davidson at KatD@drhnow.com or call 678.485.8413.
Founded in 1972 by Joe Whitty in Davenport, Iowa, Happy Joe’s dream was to create a restaurant concept that focused on serving America’s two favorite foods – pizza and ice cream – in a family-friendly, celebratory environment. Happy Joe’s, a FastCasual “Top 200” concept, is owned and operated by Dynamic Restaurant Holdings Inc. The family-centric pizza brand has eight company and 34 franchise locations throughout the Midwest with more in the pipeline. To learn more, visit HappyJoes.com or follow Happy Joe’s on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.