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Pizza Hut Goes After a Younger Late-Night Delivery Crowd

Thousands of the iconic chain's locations nationwide are extending their hours to stay open later.

Enjoying a resurgence in sales this year, Pizza Hut now aims to be the late-night DELCO choice for hungry young customers around the country, with new operating hours announced this week.

Thousands of Pizza Hut locations nationwide are extending their hours to stay open until midnight or later. Several stores will even stay open as late as 2 a.m., the company said in a press release.

Specifically, that means later hours for delivery and carryout, which has become Pizza Hut’s main focus since the COVID-19 pandemic. The brand has enjoyed renewed success in part by tapping into the power of third-party delivery platforms during the past year.

It’s all part of Pizza Hut’s drive to broaden its multigenerational appeal. “Pizza Hut recognized the undeniable trend toward late-night dining among the younger generation and is seizing this opportunity to satisfy these after-dinner hankerings,” the company said. “By extending its hours, Pizza Hut aims to bridge this gap and cater to customers’ desires.”

Faced with declining same-store sales in early 2022 and responding to higher demand for delivery, Pizza Hut expanded its relationship with third-party aggregators in May of that year. By the fourth quarter of 2022, sales were trending upward, with a rise in U.S. same-store sales of 4%.

Additionally, with the move towards third-party delivery, Pizza Hut’s sales increased by 30% on DoorDash and Uber Eats in 2022 Q4, according to David Gibbs, CEO of Yum! Brands, Pizza Hut’s parent company.

For the second quarter of 2023, Yum! Brands reported a 7% increase in worldwide system sales for Pizza Hut and a 4% increase in worldwide same-store sales. That included a 2% increase in system-wide sales in the U.S. and 6% same-store sales growth for the year to date as of August 2.

The new late-night hours will enable Pizza Hut to better leverage its partnerships with third-party aggregators. Meanwhile, the company said it’s using a cutting-edge delivery order management system, called Dragontail, to optimize the delivery experience and make sure every delivery order arrives hot and fresh.

In the recent “Most Loved Eating Out Brands 2023” report by Brandvue, Pizza Hut took top honors among the major pizza chains and was listed at No. 14 among all major restaurant brands. Domino’s came in at No. 26.