A slice of the pie

Steven Jackson has come a long
way since his start in the pizza
business in high school when he worked as a delivery person.

While Jackson was in his last year of
college, his former boss at Dino’s Pizza,
Jim Hearn, decided to start another
pizza place, and
Jackson and his
friends came up with
the name Hungry
Howie’s. With
demand for his
teaching degree in
short supply, Jackson
instead partnered
with Hearn and opened a Hungry
Howie’s of his own.

By 1980, there were 12 restaurants,
and Jackson was eager to start franchising the brand. To maintain the consistency and quality of the brand, he
and Hearn established the procedures
they would need to attain the growth
they envisioned, and with the opening
of the first franchise in 1983, Jackson
moved to Florida to expand the business.

It was in those first years of franchising that a franchisee hit on the idea that
would become Hungry Howie’s hallmark — flavored crusts. Jackson,
working with other franchisees, then
developed eight flavored crusts that set
the chain apart from its competitors,
and with that, the company had found
its niche.

Jackson, who serves as president of
Hungry Howie’s, has been careful to
maintain consistent and controlled
growth, expanding only at a sustainable pace. Today, the ninth-largest
pizza chain in the county has 563 stores
in 19 states, and Jackson plans to
expand into five more states, with 50
new stores opening this year.

HOW TO REACH: Hungry Howie’s Pizza Inc., (248) 414-3300 or