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Owners of Whitesburg Pizza Hut files for bankruptcy, announces plans to close 300 restaurants

FUTURE UNCLEAR — The company that owns the Whitesburg Pizza Hut has filed for bankruptcy protection and will close 300 restaurants. It is not yet clear whether the Whitesburg location will survive the cuts.

FUTURE UNCLEAR — The company that owns the Whitesburg Pizza Hut has filed for bankruptcy protection and will close 300 restaurants. It is not yet clear whether the Whitesburg location will survive the cuts.

A Kansas-based company has announced it is closing up to 300 Pizza Hut restaurants, most of them dine-in locations not well suited for carryout and delivery at a time when millions of people are sheltering and eating at home.

The franchisee that owns them, NPC International, owns the Whitesburg restaurant, however a list of those to be closed has not been released.

Pizza sales have exploded during the pandemic. Domino’s last month reported a 30 percent spike in quarterly profits. This week, it said that it was hiring more than 20,000 people to handle surging orders.

NPC International said this week in documents filed in bankruptcy court that it had come to an agreement with Pizza Hut to close hundreds of locations. The Leawood, Kansas, company filed for bankruptcy protection last month.

NPC owns 1,225 Pizza Huts and 385 Wendy’s restaurants in 27 states. There are currently 7,000 Pizza Hut restaurants in the U.S.

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. system-wide sales grew just 1 percent in the April-June period; rival Domino’s Pizza, which has smaller, carryout-focused stores, posted a 20 percent jump in U.S. sales.

Yum Brands, in a prepared statement, said the stores being closed had under-performed others owned by NPC, and that shedding them would strengthen NPC’s remaining portfolio.

This report was compiled from Associated Press and Mountain Eagle dispatches.

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