“… We started utilizing (the analytics module) outside the state of Michigan probably about a year ago and just started to re-input it in Michigan and realized, ‘Oh my gosh, we can do so much more here.’ … Because we have the data now from our actual customer base, we were able to go in and pinpoint that per household. So, we’re super excited.”
Jackson notes there is room for 35 more units within Michigan. Franchisee Robert Leger, who works with business partners to operate 65 stores across Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina, and Florida, opened a store in Big Rapids, Michigan, in January and another in Melvindale, Michigan, in early February. They plan to open more in Michigan in the next year.
“It is a privilege to have had the opportunity to grow Hungry Howie’s Pizza throughout the great state of Michigan,” Leger said in a statement. “Community is extremely important to us, and all of our restaurants have become an integral part of their local neighborhood. We can’t wait to serve high-quality, delicious pizza to the local Melvindale residents and provide exceptional service to this area.”
The pizza brand is known for its flavored pizza crusts, which rolled out in the 1980s. Flavors include butter, butter cheese, Cajun, garlic herb, onion, ranch, sesame, and Asiago cheese. The pizza menu is complemented by calzone-style subs, breads, salads, and wings.
Franchisees receive support from the Hungry Howie’s corporate office in all areas of real estate, site selection, construction, design, marketing, and training. Applicants must have $100,000 in liquid assets, a $300,000 net worth, and a credit score of 700 or better. The franchise fee is $25,000, and Hungry Howie’s says the typical cost to build a franchise is between $290,600 and $538,400. The ongoing royalty fee is 5.5 percent of gross sales.
The brand has an initial training program that includes a trip to headquarters and a nearby franchise location for four weeks of classroom and on-the-job training. After opening, franchisees receive two weeks of onsite assistance.
Each of those franchisees are expected to uphold Hungry Howie’s core values: treat everyone like family, have integrity, do what you say, be hungry for growth, and have positive energy.
“We’re always looking for business-minded entrepreneurs,” Jackson says. “We want people that are really passionate about the food industry—anybody that has a background. We’re really looking for proven, restaurant industry owners or people who are really looking to buy themselves a job and get in and grow organically. … We’re just looking for those perfect partners to be able to follow our system—we’ve got a proven franchise system—and just become a part of our extended family.”
Jackson notes that growth within Hungry Howie’s isn’t limited to Michigan. Dozens of states like North Carolina and Georgia are open for development, as well.
“I just think that it’s a super exciting opportunity for any individual just because we have a proven model,” Jackson says. “We’re still one of the top-10 pizza companies in the country, but we’ve got the availability, which many of the top ones don’t in the U.S.”