Happy Joe’s Pizza and Ice Cream’s half-century-old brand and its iconic restaurants are getting a makeover courtesy of global design consulting firm Harrison, the chain’s CEO and President Tom Sacco said recently. The London, England-based Harrison was the right choice, he said, to create a new interior design and brand that will serve as “the […]
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Happy Joe’s Pizza and Ice Cream’s half-century-old brand and its iconic restaurants are getting a makeover courtesy of global design consulting firm Harrison, the chain’s CEO and President Tom Sacco said recently.
The London, England-based Harrison was the right choice, he said, to create a new interior design and brand that will serve as “the launching pad to the next 50 years of Happy Joe’s growth, across the U.S. and globally.”
“We’re excited to have been chosen to be part of the repositioning of such an iconic brand,” said Keith Anderson, Harrison’s chief operating officer. “Happy Joe’s is full of history and spirit, which is going to make the creation of this new prototype a lot of fun. We see a lot of potential to expand Happy Joe’s throughout the U.S. and globally, and we’re honored to help them achieve this growth.”
The story-telling design, which Mr. Sacco called “Happy Joe’s 2.0,” will roll out in the franchise’s home state of Iowa in 2022, the company announced back in August 2021. Locations in Bettendorf and Clinton as well as in Galena, Illinois will be the first to boast elements of the redesign. It also is being unveiled in new franchises moving forward including a half dozen restaurants nearing completion in Cairo, Egypt.
Four of those new Happy Joe’s locations are ready for interior work and, at press time, at least two were ready to open, Mr. Sacco said. They still were awaiting the arrival by ship of the pizza ovens required to make the chain’s signature offerings.
The newly designed restaurants still will pay tribute to the brilliance of Lawrence Joseph “Happy Joe” Whitty, the man who started it all by creating “a magical experience” that Mr. Sacco has grown passionate about and hopes to spread around the globe.
Mr. Whitty, who died on Oct. 29, 2019, opened his first restaurant in the Village of East Davenport on Nov. 16, 1972.
Mr. Sacco wanted to ensure the redesign paid proper tribute to a man he said belongs in the company of national restaurant giants such as Wendy’s Dave Thomas.
The stories of Happy Joe’s halcyon days, however, will be told in new ways. For example, remodeled restaurants will feature 20 themed works of art drawn from Happy Joe’s life and autobiography, “Not Your Average Joe.”
Among the subjects, the new artwork will pay tribute to are his lifelong dedication to special needs children, his love of balloons, and, of course, pizza. Also featured will be an Andy Warhol-style quadrant creation worthy of the father of the Happy Joe’s brand and experience. A larger version of the image also will have a place of honor at the company’s support center in Bettendorf.
There also will be plenty of room for today’s customers to make and share new memories, Mr. Sacco said. The overall goal of the redo, he said, is to keep one foot in the past while making room for building new memories for another 50 years.
What won’t be changing, at least in the United States, is the food. American restaurants that bear Mr. Whitty’s name will continue to serve up Happy Joe’s fan-favorite signature creations. They are often imitated but never duplicated, Mr. Sacco said, because they lack the overall experience that a visit to Happy Joe’s delivers. That experience will continue as well – birthday celebrations and all – here and abroad.
Care is being taken, too, to include Happy Joe’s signature dishes in restaurants in Egypt where customers will find the American-style foods they crave, with only a few exceptions and additions.
Menus also will be in Arabic for those who cannot read English and there will be no pork featured on the menu. Pizza and pasta dishes will contain all-beef sausage and all-beef pepperoni, for example. Entrees featuring chicken, shrimp, calamari and tuna also will be added to the menu and local favorites, such as grape leaf wraps and olives will be included on the salad bar.