As the originators of flavored crust pizza, Hungry Howie’s Pizza has built a strong name for itself over its 43 years in the quick-service pizza market—which is well-known for being one of the most competitive in the industry. It’s also seen a number of updates in the past year, including the rollout of one unified system-wide point of sale system and the complete implementation of a new store look.
“Technology is one thing we don’t hold back on,” says Jennifer Jackson, vice president of development for Hungry Howie’s Pizza. “Along with using one unified point of sale system, Hungry Howie’s locations also all use the same online ordering system. Our customer orders are up 23 percent since we rolled out the new systems last January.”
The point of sale system also allows for more multifaceted enterprise reporting, available through a franchisee-exclusive app. The app gives franchisees the ability to track their own key performance indicators and monitor their cost controls against the average for Hungry Howie’s locations, with many additional features.
The new store look, featuring more modern, clean lines and bright colors, was first introduced in 2010. Last year, all locations started the transition to the new look. “It’s exciting for store team members and our customers to see that fresh look,” Jackson says.
Hungry Howie’s Pizza has about 550 locations and is looking to grow this year in the Southeast, particularly North Carolina, South Carolina, and the Atlanta, Georgia area. “We’ve positioned ourselves for rapid growth, giving candidates the option of being single or multi-unit operators,” Jackson says. “The brand also provides opportunities for existing multi-store operators to purchase an entire territory, which is something you can’t find in other pizza brands.”
The company is searching for new franchise owners who have previous restaurant experience, an excellent credit score, a net worth of $300,000, and at least $100,000 in liquid assets. “Our owners need an entrepreneurial spirit,” Jackson says. “Most have fond memories of the foodservice industry and are able to seamlessly become a part of the Hungry Howie’s system.”
Once a potential franchisee shows interest, he or she goes through a six- to eight-week qualification process—a series of phone calls asking the interested individual to focus on branding, site selection, and other concerns crucial to opening a location. “We always talk about franchising as though we’re building a true partnership together,” Jackson says. “You want to make sure it’s the right fit.” The strongest candidates are invited to Validation Day at the Hungry Howie’s corporate headquarters in Michigan, where they go through an informal interview process and are reviewed by the committee. Candidates also get to sample products, meet the leadership team and visit one of the training stores.
After the papers are signed, it typically takes six to nine months for a franchisee’s first store to open—a time frame that includes a four-week training course in Michigan. Trainees spend three of those weeks on the ground in a store and one week in a classroom. Prior to the opening, the Hungry Howie’s Pizza corporate team assigns a franchise consultant to each location, from whom franchisees can receive advice and feedback on issues regarding day-to-day operations. Franchisees also receive full marketing support, which they can take advantage of for the store opening and beyond.
For more information about franchising opportunities with Hungry Howie's Pizza, visit www.HungryHowies.com