We’ve all seen an abandoned Pizza Hut restaurant. Those oddly-roofed buildings are mausoleums memorializing nostalgic pizza traditions of our past, sacrificed at the altar of convenient online delivery and streamlined carryout operations. Heck, there are so many abandoned or repurposed Pizza Huts dotting America’s landscape that there’s an entire subreddit dedicated to spotting them.
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Now, it sounds like the obliteration of America’s dine-in Pizza Huts is set to accelerate. According to Food Business News, Pizza Hut will soon shutter up to 500 of its older dine-in locations in order to streamline its operations and focus on more carryout-oriented locations.
On a recent earnings call, such a move was described by Yum! Brands President, COO and CFO David Gibbs as “leaning in to accelerate the transition of our Pizza Hut U.S. asset base to truly modern delivery/carryout assets,” which will “ultimately strengthen the Pizza Hut business in the U.S. and set it up for faster long-term growth.” While some stores will be transitioned, underperforming dine-in locations will close for good.
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The move seems to be in keeping with actions taken elsewhere in the Yum! Brands portfolio. KFC seems poised to make a big push into delivery, with about 2,300 locations working with grubhub to deliver. Nearly twice as many Taco Bells are transporting Chalupas and Gorditas to hungry customers.
Given that Pizza Hut is fixated on takeout orders to the point of prototyping a self-driving delivery vehicle, the decision makes sense. But it’s definitely a gut punch for nostalgic Pizza Hut fans with fond childhood memories of chomping on some breadsticks and a personal pizza perched in one of those red booths. I’m choosing to blame these closures on the Gen Z’ers who grew up with the internet and don’t know what it’s like to have to sit down in a generic pizza restaurant without a smartphone.
So rest easy, dine-in Pizza Huts of the past. I’ll see you on the other side. Just save me a slice of Stuffed Crust.
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