One of the major franchises of Pizza Huts and Wendy’s restaurants is filing for bankruptcy. After struggling with pandemic-related shutdowns, the franchisee, NPC International, filed for chapter 11 on Wednesday.
NPC International is Pizza Hut’s largest franchisee operating 1,200 locations, according to WKYT. The group also operates nearly 400 Wendy’s locations.
During the coronavirus pandemic, the group struggled to withstand rising labor and food costs. NPC racked up a massive debt of nearly $1 billion. Jon Weber, CEO & President of NPC’s Pizza Hut division, spoke about the difficulties in operating during the pandemic. “These challenges have been magnified recently by the impact and uncertainty of COVID-19, and we believe it is necessary to take proactive steps to strengthen our capital structure, so we have the financial flexibility to continue to adapt to current industry trends. We also intend to use this process to continue to evaluate and optimize our restaurant portfolio so that we are best positioned to meet the needs of consumers across the country.”
Across 27 states, NPC employs nearly 40,000 people. During the bankruptcy process, the company’s restaurants will continue to operate. The group also expects to be able to continue paying employees and providing customary benefits.
Pizza Hut and Wendy’s Moving Forward After Filing for Bankruptcy
Carl Hauch, CEO & President of NPC’s Wendy’s division, released a statement regarding the company’s focus at this time. He says that customer health and safety is the company’s top priority. “As we go through this process, that focus on providing outstanding and safe service to guests in our Wendy’s and Pizza Hut restaurants will not change. Our restaurants remain open on normal schedules, and we are maintaining the highest standards of safety, cleanliness and hygiene,” Hauch said.
Despite the setback, Hauch says Wendy’s is “already recovering” and expects the company to “produce year-over-year growth.”