Pizza Hut parent company Yum Brands has temporarily closed down more than 1,000 Pizza Hut Express units in the U.S. due to the coronavirus pandemic, the company said in a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission dated March 18.
According to the filing, Yum Brands has shuttered 7,000 restaurants worldwide, including more than 900 KFC stores in the United Kingdom.
The filing became public just before Pizza Hut revealed it plans to hire more than 30,000 new workers in the U.S. to meet increased demand for delivery and carryout.
As the pandemic forces restaurateurs to close down their dine-in services and limit their hours, Yum Brands said it will work with struggling franchisees that might need more operating capital or extensions on “certain near-term payments where necessary.”
Yum Brands estimated its same-store sales for the quarter ending March 31 “will decline in a range of mid to high single digits.” The company expects the coronavirus to cause sales to get even worse through the quarter ending June 3 “due to the increasing number of markets currently impacted” by the pandemic.
Noting that the coronavirus “continues to impact the operations of our restaurants in numerous markets across the world,” Yum Brands said its primary focus “continues to be the safety of everyone who engages with our brands, including our employees, franchisees and their team members, and customers.”
“At the same time, we understand the important role our restaurants can play in continuing to serve customers in markets that will or have experienced restrictions around travel outside the home or the gathering of individuals, particularly given our existing drive-thru, carryout and delivery channels,” the filing stated. “To that end, we are working with franchisees in impacted markets to help navigate business continuity in the safest manner possible. We are also working with franchisees who need more access to capital and are in good standing with the company to provide assistance, including grace periods for certain near-term payments where necessary.”