Hundreds of dine-in Pizza Hut restaurants to close as chain puts greater focus on carryout, delivery

Hickory, NC, USA-9/2/18: A Pizza Hut restaurant, an American chain founded in 1958, with almost 17,000 restaurants worldwide.

Pizza Hut plans to close up to 500 restaurants as the chain moves away from dine-in locations to put a bigger emphasis on delivery and carryout.

Many of the locations are underperforming, according to David W. Gibbs, president, chief operating officer and chief financial officer for Yum! Brands. Gibbs revealed the information in an earnings call last week, according to Food Business News.

In the U.S., about 6,100 Pizza Hut locations are traditional restaurants while 1,350 are express units. Gibbs said Pizza Huts with low sales and lagging foot traffic would close.

“But as far as the numbers and how the math works, it’s hard to estimate how soon the timing of when a store will close and then when the replaced unit will open,” Gibbs said. “There will be gaps on some of those, but certainly, our goal is to try to minimize those gaps.”

The most recent earnings report showed Pizza Hut’s same-store sales were up 2%. The pizza chain is also growing internationally and currently has 18,515 stores worldwide, compared to 16,823 at this time last year.

Louisville-based Yum! Brands also owns Taco Bell and KFC. Both chains are putting a greater focus on delivery. KFC, which is partnering with Grubhub, offers delivery at 2,300 units while 4,500 Taco Bell locations deliver.

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