One of Happy Joe’s Pizza & Ice Cream’s core values is a commitment to give back to the community.
The iconic Midwestern pizza brand’s generosity is well known throughout the Quad Cities for its support of the area’s kids mini marathon, tied to the annual Quad Cities Marathon each fall, its Christmas parties for special needs children every holiday season and numerous other charitable measures. Happy Joe’s is also committed to offering support at a more hyperlocal level through its restaurant group tours and Happy Reader program.
“We take great pride in our creative pizza offerings, but a lot of people may not know we take even greater pride in helping out the communities we serve,” Happy Joe’s President and CEO Tom Sacco says. “While it’s amazing to support large-scale events, these programs are special to us because they’re designed to get our franchisees engaged with their neighborhood schools and community groups.”
Happy Joe’s group tours are the perfect way for schools and community groups to get an inside look at the pizza-making process and learn how a restaurant is run on a day-to-day basis. Each group gets a tour of the kitchen and prep areas, complete with an explanation on food and kitchen safety, proper food storage, freezer and oven usage as well as a discussion on the five senses.
Tour groups also get to make their own personal pizza and serve their own ice cream. While they eat, the Happy Joe’s team explains the brand’s core values and why customers are the most important part of the business. Happy Joe’s can handle groups as small as six and as large as 50 for each tour, with a cost of $6.95 per person. Student groups must have an adult chaperone.
The Happy Reader program is free and open to students of all ages but has proven most popular with elementary schools and parents of homeschool groups. The program is simple to follow, with teachers setting weekly or monthly individual reading goals for students to hit.
As they improve their reading levels, Happy Joe’s mascot Happy the Dog delivers prizes (free pizza, branded swag, etc.) to the classroom for teachers to share with students as they reach their goals. The purpose of the program is to encourage students to read more and provide encouragement on an individual basis as each one improves. The class that shows the most improvement wins a pizza party from their local Happy Joe’s.
“Who would’ve thought pizza and reading could go hand-in-hand?” Sacco says. “Really, we’re committed to supporting the local children however we can and if that includes encouraging a student to read more by awarding him free pizza, then that’s what we’re going to do.”