The country’s top pizza chains are looking to hire 60,000 new workers—and get them trained in a hurry—as the coronavirus pandemic drives more customers to delivery and carryout services.
Pizza Hut, the No. 2 pizza chain behind Domino’s in terms of global retail sales, will lead the hiring charge, adding more than 30,000 positions nationwide. “Now more than ever, restaurants have an important role in feeding families and those looking for safe, fast and reliable food from brands they can trust,” the company announced on its website. “As the largest pizza brand in the U.S. by store count, Pizza Hut is committed to doing its part. The company is hiring and putting new procedures in place—and doubling down on others—to meet the changing demands of customers during this critical time.”
The move came just as Yum Brands, parent company of Pizza Hut as well as Taco Bell and KFC, announced in an SEC regulatory filing that it has temporarily closed 7,000 restaurants worldwide, including 1,000 Pizza Hut Express units in the U.S. and more than 900 KFC locations in the United Kingdom, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Industry leader Domino’s earlier announced its plans to hire 10,000 new fulltime and part-time employees nationwide, including delivery drivers, pizza makers, managers and more.
For its part, Pizza Hut will hire drivers, cooks, shift leaders, managers and virtual call center agents, noting, “Most importantly, these are permanent positions.” It will also start expediting its hiring and onboarding process “to accommodate people who are looking for jobs now and to get delivery drivers on the road more rapidly” in response to soaring demand for pizza delivery. “The new process aims to have delivery drivers trained and on the road safely in five hours, which is nearly [three times] quicker than the previous training procedure,” Pizza Hut states.
“Given the increased demand we’re seeing for delivery, we’re hiring new team members to help us feed America,” said Kevin Hochman, president of Pizza Hut U.S., in a statement. “Whether through contactless delivery, curbside pickup or carryout, we’re here to serve oven-hot pizza however customers want to get it.”
Papa John’s, the No. 3 pizza chain, will also speed up its hiring and training process, hoping to get workers started on the same day they interview and get hired.
“For anyone looking for immediate ways to earn an income, we’re making it quick and simple to apply, interview and be hired at Papa John’s,” said Marvin Boakye, Papa John’s chief people and diversity officer, in a press release. “We want to add talented team members to our Papa John’s family across the country to deliver food safely to our customers’ doorsteps. We are in the unique position—as a restaurant that specializes in delivery and carryout—to help our communities through this crisis.”
In fact, the three biggest pizza chains might be uniquely positioned to benefit from the coronavirus crisis since their business models are already based on delivery and carryout. But many smaller pizza companies and independents face the loss of significant dine-in business and must ramp up their delivery operations—or add a delivery component—to stay competitive.