NPC International Inc., the largest franchise operator for Plano-based Pizza Hut, announced on Monday that it will close as many as 300 Pizza Huts. The decision was made after the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July, when shutdowns related to the coronavirus pandemic challenged its businesses.
A statement from Kansas-based NPC says it has not picked which restaurants will close, or when. NPC operates 1,227 Pizza Hut franchises, or about 18% of Pizza Hut’s 6,700 stores. NPC also operates just under 400 Wendy’s stores.
A “substantial majority” of the Pizza Huts that are closing are dine-in restaurants, the statement says.
The company does not operate any Pizza Huts in Dallas proper; its closest North Texas restaurants are to the east, in Tyler and Lindale, and to the northwest, in Bowie.
Across North Texas, small restaurateurs are trying out pizza during the pandemic. Yum! Brands, Pizza Hut’s parent company, reported an eight-year high in delivery and carry-out sales in early May.
Pizza Hut has been challenged by rising food and labor costs and competition with other pizza brands such as Domino’s Pizza and Papa John’s Pizza, we reported in July.
Pizza Hut says the closures are “an important step toward a healthier business” in a statement.