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FoundedOctober 17, 1966; 56 years ago (1966-10-17)
FounderFrancis and Charles Higa
Headquarters1765 South King Street,
Honolulu, Hawaii
Number of locations

Zippy's is a fast casual restaurant chain based in Hawaii. It has 22 locations and serves American, Japanese, Chinese, and Hawaiian fusion food. One of their best-selling items is chili.


On October 17, 1966, brothers Francis and Charles Higa opened the first Zippy's on South King Street in Honolulu, Hawaii. At first, the Higa brothers were going to open a car wash, but they ended up creating a restaurant. The kitchen was located in the back of the Zippy's McCully fast food operation. At the time, the zip code was gaining popularity because it was a faster and more efficient way for mail to arrive. The Higa brothers liked the idea of zip codes and they wanted their restaurant to have the same kind of service, so they named the restaurant Zippy's. Francis and Charlie bought mostly freestanding buildings so that they could stay open for 24 hours, attracting many late-night customers.

At the time that Zippy's was first created, a lot of Okinawan mom and pop restaurants were around. There weren't many mainland fast food chains in Hawaii at that time either. At that time, Spencecliff, Andy Wong (Byron's), and Zippy's were the only fast food restaurants around. Because of the competition, the Higa brothers decided on selling a variety of local foods.[1]

On November 19, 1983, Napoleon's Bakery opened its doors, due to the fact that Zippy's wanted to try something different.[2] They wanted to make the restaurant a one-stop shop, so that when the customer were done with their dinner, they could order a dessert. Because of the bakery's opening, the sales at Zippy's increased.[citation needed]

The founders, Francis and Charles Higa, created FCH Enterprise, Inc. in May 2002. Francis and Charles had different personalities and took on different roles to make the business successful.[3] Francis determined the direction of the company, while Charles made most of the operational decisions and handled all food and paper purchases. To this present day, Charles is happily retired and well.[citation needed] However, Francis died on March 25, 1999.[4] Francis' son, Jason Higa, is now the current CEO of FCH Enterprises, Inc.

When Zippy's Kaimuki restaurant opened, Charles would transport huge pots of chili in his station wagon.[5] Now, food is being prepared by Food Solutions International in Waipio and is sent to the different Zippy's around the islands.


Zippy's is open 24 hours and offers a wide variety of food combining American, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and Hawaiian cuisine—that is, what people who live in Hawaii call "local" cuisine.[6] One of their signature dishes when they first opened was the Zip-min.[7] Its signature food is their chili. Zippy's sells 110 tons of it every month through their stores, fund raising activities, and in retail markets.[8] Along with their chili, Zippy's sells a variety of plate lunches such as the Zip Pac and the Surf Pac.[9] The Zip Pac was introduced in May 1971 and the Surf Pac was introduced a little while after in May 1985.

Related chains[edit]

A Zippy's Restaurant with an attached Napoleon's Bakery, Oahu, Hawaii

Most Zippy's restaurants also contain a separate counter for Napoleon's Bakery.[10] Two locations contain a separate sushi bar.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ “Higas Still Run Zippy’s as a Family Business,” Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 29 September 2002, retrieved on 17 November 2014
  2. ^ "How Sweet It Is | Napoleon's Bakery". Dining Out. 2016-11-20. Retrieved 2019-04-07.
  3. ^ Jeanine Mamiya-Kalahiki, Marketing Director of Zippy's and Jeff Bercasio, Creative Specialist of Zippy's, interview by Joevondis Collier, Ku’ulei Yamamoto, Honolulu, HI, November 7, 2014.
  4. ^ Kua, Crystal (March 26, 1999). "Zippy's co-founder Higa dies". Retrieved 2019-04-07.
  5. ^ Bob, Sigall. The Companies We Keep : Amazing Stories about 450 of Hawaii's Best Known Companies (Honolulu, Hawaii: Small Business Hawaii, 2004), 295-297.
  6. ^ Leong, Lavonne (2017-10-25). "To Eat Like a Local in Hawai'i, Go to Zippy's". Eater. Retrieved 2019-04-07.
  7. ^ "Zippy's celebrates its 50th anniversary". Retrieved 2019-04-07.
  8. ^ Paiva, Derek (2008-08-06). "Zippy's to open its first Maui restaurant". Hawaii Magazine. Retrieved 2019-04-07.
  9. ^ "In Hawaii, Nothing Says You're Home Like Mac Salad". Bon Appétit. Retrieved 2019-04-07.
  10. ^ Napoleon's Bakery Store Locator Archived July 5, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "Zippy's Restaurants". Zippy's Restaurants. Retrieved 2019-04-07.

External links[edit]