Happy Joe’s Pizza & Ice Cream has been a Quad-City staple since 1972, and the company is set to mark its 50th anniversary with the most successful year in brand history.

According to a press release, the 46-unit chain has signed 28 franchise deals, resulting in an over 60% increase in locations and opened five restaurants, more than Happy Joe’s has opened over the last five years. The company is set to have locations in various parts of the country, the Middle East and North Africa. Future potential destinations include Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E. and the U.K.

“The fast-paced franchise momentum we’ve built this past year cannot be slowed down,” Tom Sacco, CEO, president and chief happiness officer, said. “At this rate, I have no doubt that on the year of our biggest birthday yet, we’ll be celebrating much more than our milestone anniversary — Happy Joe’s will be experiencing a record-breaking year. We have plans to open internationally and in new areas across the country in 2022. We can’t wait to create magical moments that last a lifetime in more cities throughout the world.”

Happy Joe’s recently worked with global design consultant firm Harrison for strategic branding, interior design and architectural expertise to create a new image and brand design. The brand also launched an app and loyalty program and revamped and upgraded its website.

“All the branding and technological advancements we have undertaken during 2021 were a necessary part of setting Happy Joe’s development and rapid growth up for success,” Sacco said. “We are well-positioned in our quest to be best in class as we broaden our reach, building ‘Happy Places’ domestically and internationally. Our hard-working franchisees and our corporate team members appreciate the passion that has been brought back to the brand in this next phase of our expansion.”

Founder Joe Whitty opened the first Happy Joe’s in the Village of East Davenport on November 16, 1972.