Story at a glance

  • Happy Joe's is a pizza and ice cream chain in the upper Midwest.
  • Founder Joe Whitty was known for his charity and the company aims to keep passing it on.
  • CEO Tom Sacco also calls himself the chief happiness officer.

At a place called Happy Joe's, happiness is paramount. So CEO Tom Sacco has appointed himself the chief happiness officer, promoting positivity with random acts of kindness. 

"We can't turn our restaurants into five-star hotels, and we can't do white tablecloth dining ... but it doesn't cost anything to be nice," Sacco told Insider.  

Started in 1972 by Joe Whitty, the pizza and ice cream joint has had charity embedded in its DNA from the very start. Just one month after the restaurant opened, Whitty closed the parlor to hold a Christmas party for about 180 disabled children — a tradition that continues to this day. Now the chain has expanded all over the upper Midwest and works closely with local schools as well as Junior Achievement, Partners in Education and the Handicapped Development Center organizations. 


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“Business has always been so good to me that I want to do things for people,” said Whitty, according to the company website

In addition to looking after loyal customers with free pizza, loud birthday celebrations and by helping elderly customers to their cars, the company also looks after its employees, Sacco told Insider. The CHO will leave surprise gift cards for delivery drivers and go the extra mile to care for employees' families. 

The company isn't the first to designate an entire position to the happiness of their employees, with the idea that happy employees are better employees.  

“The CHO’s job is to spearhead different initiatives to make people happier, like celebrations, training, events and similar activities in the workplace that help people do great work and see the purpose of what they do,” consultant Alexander Kjerulf, co-founder at WooHoo inc in Denmark, told The Guardian


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Published on Aug 09, 2021