Pizza Hut closing hundreds of restaurants as it pushes delivery

Pizza Hut is planning to shutter hundreds of restaurants as it shifts its focus to delivery and fast-casual dining.

The restaurant’s parent company, Yum! Brands, sees the move away from dine-in restaurants as a needed move in order to drive more sales, CEO Greg Creed said in a call with investors.

“We plan to lean in to accelerate the transition of our Pizza Hut U.S. estate to a more modern delivery- and carryout-focused asset base,” he said. “This will ultimately position the Pizza Hut brand for many years of faster growth in the U.S.”

The chain will encourage franchisees to replace underperforming dine-in restaurants with the newer model stores, Creed said.

“We view this as a positive move for the brand,” he said.

There are currently 7,496 Pizza Hut locations in the U.S. The company plans to cut about 500 restaurants to bring the number closer to 7,000, MarketWatch reports.

A partnership with Grubhub has helped bring in some new delivery customers, Creed said. Customers can order through Grubhub’s app, but the food is still delivered by a Pizza Hut driver.

Pizza Hut relaunched its Original Pan Pizza with a new recipe. (Pizza Hut)

Pizza Hut also has its own online ordering system. The chain also recently tested an in-store digital ordering system that lets customers order and pick up food without talking to a single person.