History of One of the Largest Pizza Franchises

The original location was converted from this hamburger stand.

The Hungry Howie’s story began in 1973 when Jim Hearn converted a 1,000 square foot hamburger shop in Taylor, Michigan into a successful carry-out and delivery pizzeria. At the time, Steve Jackson delivered pizzas for Hearn. Over the years, their partnership would evolve into what Hungry Howie’s is today.

How does a single-store pizza operation become a successful multi-unit competitor in the pizza delivery industry? Steve Jackson says, “It takes a fierce desire to succeed in one of the toughest food segments. Major elements in our strategy include excellent products, superior customer service and the marketing savvy to compete against the national pizza chains.”

Hungry Howie's first store, Taylor MI.In 1982, Jackson and Hearn made a decision to franchise their operation. In January 1983, they awarded their first Hungry Howie’s franchise.

Within the next three years, 65 pizza franchises were opened within the Hungry Howie’s system. The company ended the 1980s with over 160 units, and opened its 300th location in 1995, and 400th in 1999. In 2004, Hungry Howie’s was awarded “Chain of the Year” by Pizza Today magazine and opened their 500th pizza location in 2005.

A natural step in the course to success was the establishment of Hungry Howie’s Distributing, Inc. The Michigan commissary was opened in 1986. The Florida commissary was opened in 1987. These moves enabled the company to control product consistency and pricing. Jackson strongly believes that meeting the highest quality standards is vital to the success the pizza chain enjoys today.

The original location as it looks today.We have combined the right pizza ingredients and years of successful experience to create a superb, growth-oriented business operation. Our delicious, high-quality Flavored Crust™ pizzas, calzone-style subs, and salads uniquely position Hungry Howie’s in the pizza marketplace, allowing us to fully capitalize on the fastest growing segment of the food service industry. Through Jackson’s and Hearn’s leadership, the brand has emerged as a major competitor in the pizza marketplace and consistently ranks in the top 10 of the nation’s largest pizza franchises. Currently, Hungry Howie’s operates over 550 locations in 21 states.

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