Pizza Hut is to open 150 high-street delivery stores after announcing its first UK franchise deal. The move will more than double its existing presence in the UK. Pizza Hut already owns 120 UK sites.
The company – part of Tricon Restaurants International – hopes to snatch a larger share of the delivery market from rivals Domino’s Pizza and Perfect Pizza, which is rebranding as Papa John’s.
Pizza Hut is offering deals to franchises across the UK, rather than tying up a deal with one major partner.
The company already has franchise operations in markets such as the US and France, where they account for two-thirds of its outlets.
Sister company Kentucky Fried Chicken also operates franchise outlets in the UK.
Franchise managers will fund the stores, with some financial backing from Pizza Hut. The marketing spend will be secured through franchises as well as investment by banks.
Store managers will work with a specially-appointed advertising board drawn from Pizza Hut staff.
The company is expected to focus on direct marketing and local press ads through incumbent agencies.
Pizza Hut marketing director Bill Ogle will have overall responsibility for marketing the franchise outlets, which will be managed by an internally-appointed director.
Mark Jones, president and chief executive of Pizza Hut UK, says the restaurant expansion programme of 20 outlets a year will continue alongside the franchises. He comments: “This is a way to grow the business faster than our current rate, and that of our competitors.
“Franchises will get the benefit of the brand’s strength and ensure we maintain one brand.”