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 www.hungryhowies.com