Fast Food Veteran, Bert Hunter, Shakes Up The South with the Pizza That Started it All™


ALHAMBRA, CA (July 17, 2007) – Shakey’s USA today announced the signing of an area agreement for three new stores in Eastern Alabama and Western Georgia; by 51-year-old restaurant veteran, Bert Hunter.

Hunter’s experience in the restaurant business spans more than 30 years, having been employed for eight of those years by RTM, at that time the largest Arby’s franchisee.. Hunter currently owns and operates six Arby’s franchises in Eastern Alabama and Western Georgia.

In expanding his franchise organization, Hunter was seeking something unique, something that catered to families, but that also fit a particular niche. Auburn, the location for the first Shakey’s, didn’t need just another hamburger joint, taqueria or pizza place. Hunter wanted to give families a place to truly reconnect with one another over great food at a good value. The fast-casual family dining experience of Shakey’s Pizza Parlors fit that niche.

“I spent a lot of time researching possible franchise options,” said Hunter. “But I wanted to offer more than just food, I wanted a brand name that resonated with folks, a place families could build memories – my research lead me to Shakey’s. They’ve got a really great thing here!”

Although Hunter had approached Shakey’s USA at a time when their strategic focus was strictly in Southern California, nationwide marketing surveys analyzed by the pizza chain that Shakey’s brand awareness exceeds 90% in many markets through out the country, and that a more aggressive franchise expansion strategy would indeed be appropriate. It also quickly became apparent to Shakey’s USA that Hunter’s operational experience, operations team, and development ability was an ideal match for Shakey’s.

“Bert approached us with such passion, and embraced the concept so wholly, we knew it would be a mistake for the brand to turn him down,” said Joe Remsa, EVP Shakey’s USA. “The Shakey’s franchise is very excited to welcome Bert Hunter aboard the team.”

Hunter’s grasp of the Shakey’s re-envisioned brand concept turned into a bit of an obsession, as he began to track down Shakey’s memorabilia, even before his application for franchise ownership was accepted.

While Bert Hunter’s restaurants will adhere to the overall look and design of Shakey’s Pizza Parlors – incorporating the same brand identity, color palette, logo and menu offerings – Hunter will have something a little extra to offer guests. He will incorporate the memorabilia he’s collected adding a museum-like quality to the experience and making Shakey’s memories spring to life.

Already in his possession are six banjos played in Shakey’s restaurants, one of them, played by an Andrew sister. He has also collected original Shakey’s straw hats, pin-stripped waiters jackets, a marketing handbook from 1966, vintage menus, old reel-to-reel radio commercials, print ads and outdoor signage. His biggest find was an original Shakey’s player piano from the early 1960s.

The first of the three restaurants to be completed will be in Auburn, Alabama slated to open this fall. Hunter’s Shakey’s – a cross between a themed restaurant and a family fast casual experience, is likely to become the southern region’s flagship store and a destination for Shakey’s enthusiasts, and pop culture buffs around the country.

Hunter has already appointed friend and colleague, Richard Coopetillo, to the position of Director of Operations for Shakey’s Auburn. Coopetillo is also Hunter’s partner in his Shakey’s Pizza Parlor franchise.


For more than 50 years, Shakey’s has been the place for family and friends to enjoy good food and good times. Shakey’s first opened its doors in April 1954 in Sacramento. Still today, Shakey’s serves its original thin crust pizza, crispy fried chicken and famous Mojo® Potatoes —sprinkled with secret seasoned breading and deep-fried. Shakey’s USA, Inc is headquartered in Alhambra, Calif. Visit or check us out on http://MySpace/ShakeysPizza.

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