Pizza Hut is the world’s largest pizza company in terms of the number of branches and percentage of market share. It has more than 16,796 restaurants and delivery outlets worldwide as of 2018. Pizza Hut is a subsidiary of Yum! Brands Inc., which is one of the world’s most reputable restaurant companies. The famous pizza chain is also known for its Italian-American cuisine menu.
Pizza Hut was founded by brothers Frank and Dan Carney in 1958 in Wichita, Kansas. The idea of them opening a pizza parlor came from a friend. They both agreed that the idea could be feasible and successful that’s why they decided to borrow six hundred dollars from their mom to start their pizza business together with their partner John Bender.
They rented a small building at 503 South Bluff in downtown Wichita and purchased secondhand equipment to make their own pizzas. In 1958, Bender and the Carney Brothers opened the very first Pizza Hut restaurant. And for their opening night, they gave away free pizzas to get the public’s interest. After a year, Pizza Hut got incorporated in Kansas and a man named Dick Hassur franchised and opened the first Pizza Hut in Topeka, Kansas.
The number of Pizza Hut franchise units had grown to a total of 145 during 1966. On the same year, they also established a home office in Wichita to coordinate the business. Two years after that, they opened the first international franchise of Pizza Hut in Canada and this was followed by the establishment of the International Pizza Hut Franchise Holders Association or also known as IPHFHA. The association aimed at acquiring forty percent of the company’s franchise operations or 120 stores and adding them to the six outlets that were fully owned by Pizza Hut.
However, the acquisitions bought turmoil to the company because the varied accounting systems that are used by the previous franchise owners had to be fused into a single operating system and that process took the company eight months to complete. This resulted to flattened sales and tumbling profits.
After the Turmoil
During the early 1970s, Frank Carney admitted that the company’s practice of relying too much on statistics from its annual report to plan its business strategy is not efficient enough. That’s why they decided to develop a long-term business plan. That’s why they decided to go public and since then Pizza Hut began growing at an unprecedented pace.
Pizza Hut opened multiple branches in Munich, Germany, and Sydney, Australia in 1970. And that same year, they also opened Pizza Hut’s 500th store in Nashville, Tennessee. And by 1971, the restaurant became the world’s largest pizza chain in terms of sales and number of restaurants. A year after that, Pizza Hut gained a listing on the New York Stock Exchange and they also achieved a one million dollar sales week in the United States market.
PepsiCo Buys Out Pizza Hut
Pizza Hut merged with PepsiCo in 1977 and became a division of global soft drink and food conglomerate. And on that year, Pizza Hut’s sales reached a whopping 436 million dollars and they opened a ten million dollars’ worth headquarters in Wichita.
But during the 1980s, new competitors appeared and it challenged Pizza Hut’s position as the number one in the pizza restaurant business. Tight and fierce competitors like Domino’s Pizza, Little Ceasar’s and Pizza Express all fought with Pizza Hut for the spot.
To step up their game, Pizza Hut introduced the “Pan Pizza” in 1983. It offers the customers a five-minute guarantee where all their single-serving pizzas would arrive fast and steaming hot.
In 1990s PepsiCo merged all of its restaurant business including KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell. It meant that all office operations like payroll, accounts payable, and data processing are going to be handled by a single senior manager. And in 1997, PepsiCo announced that their restaurant division will have an independent publicly traded company called Trico Global Restaurants, Inc. and today it is now known as the Yum! Brands, Inc.
In 2014, Pizza Hut had a rebrand to increase their sales which have dropped in the previous two years. They expanded their menu which included various items such as eleven new specialty pizzas and crust flavors. They also changed the look of their employee’s uniform. And in 2017, Pizza Hut was listed in the number 24spot in the list of 200 Most Influential Brands in the World.