Happy Joe’s Pizza files for bankruptcy protection

Happy Joe’s Pizza filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this month.

Davenport, Iowa-based Dynamic Restaurant Acquisition, doing business as Happy Joe’s Pizza, filed a petition in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.

The company recruited Tom Sacco to become Happy Joe’s CEO in October 2020. Sacco signed the petition seeking bankruptcy protection for reorganization for two corporate entities, according to a press release.

The release states that the first corporate entity operates Happy Joe’s company restaurants and the second operates Tony Sacco’s company restaurants. Tom Sacco and Tony Sacco are not related.

Both entities only operate company-owned restaurants and are not associated with any franchisee restaurants, according to the release. Two franchising entities related to Happy Joe’s — Happy Joe’s Franchising and Tony Sacco’s Franchising – are not part of the bankruptcy filing.

Court documents accompanying the petition state that Happy Joe’s had a net income loss of $1.2 million for the 2022 fiscal year. The company reported total assets of $1.9 million and total liabilities of $2.5 million for fiscal year 2022.

“Happy” Joe Whitty founded the pizza chain in Davenport in 1972. Whitty died in 2019.

The chain currently has more than 50 locations, including restaurants in Dubuque, Cascade, and Dyersville in Iowa; East Dubuque, Ill.; and Lancaster, Wis.

A Happy Joe’s restaurant in Maquoketa, Iowa, announced its closure in August, citing challenges in finding enough staff.

The press release issued with the bankruptcy announcement states that “the vast majority of Happy Joe’s 50-plus locations are highly profitable.”

“Older, company-owned stores have been challenged with “the one-two-three punch of COVID-19, rising food and labor costs, and recessionary fears,” the release states.