The Oelwein Pizza Hut location at 809 E. Charles St., closed its doors for good on Tuesday, another victim of changing times, as the pandemic continues to see more people sheltering in their homes. The local Pizza Hut is not alone, however, as recent business news reports up to 300 Pizza Hut restaurants will be closed in the coming months, most of them dine-in locations not well suited for carryout and delivery.
Attempts to reach the local manager Tuesday afternoon were met with a phone message stating the Oelwein Pizza Hut has closed. The message directs callers to a website to find another location in the area.
The Daily Register learned, however, that Franchisee NPC International, which owns 1,225 of the 7,000 Pizza Hut restaurants in the U.S., filed for bankruptcy protection in July. Documents filed in bankruptcy court in mid-August said NPC had come to an agreement with Pizza Hut to close hundreds of locations. In its filing, NPC said that closing stores not designed for pick-up or delivery will allow it to invest in smaller stores that can better handle online orders.
In May, Pizza Hut’s U.S. carryout and delivery sales reached an eight-year high, according to Yum Brands Inc., the Louisville, Kentucky, company that also owns KFC and Taco Bell.
But Pizza Hut’s U.S. systemwide sales grew just 1% in the April-June period; rival Domino’s Pizza, which has smaller, carryout-focused stores, posted a 20% jump in U.S. sales.
Yum Brands in a prepared statement said the stores being closed had underperformed others owned by NPC, and that shedding them would strengthen NPC’s remaining portfolio.