Huge National Pizza Chain Abruptly Closes Restaurants, Dozens More To Close

By Dave Basner

June 18, 2024

Photo: Getty Images

In recent months, huge restaurant chains like Red Lobster, Pizza Hut, Boston Market, TGI Fridays, Popeyes, Tijuana Flats, Cracker Barrel and Applebee's have been closing locations due to financial issues and now, Pizza Hut is following suit. The massive national pizza chain abruptly shuttered 15 restaurants, but the reasons behind the closures are different than other chains. Pizza Hut shut down the stores due to an ongoing financial dispute with one of their biggest franchisees.

According to the Daily Mail, the franchisee, EYM Group, operates 144 Pizza Hut restaurants across five states and they're being sued by the pizza company over millions of dollars in unpaid bills. EYM was supposed to have paid up by last week but missed the deadline, leading to the sudden closures of 15 Indiana locations. Staff at those stores revealed on social media that they were not given any warning of the closures and were just told to file for unemployment.

In the coming weeks, another 129 Pizza Huts EYM owns will close in Georgia, Illinois, South Carolina and Wisconsin. EYM claims Pizza Hut has brought on the issues, having not modernized its menus or app like other pizza chains have, pointing out how online ordering crashed during the Super Bowl and how "failed strategies" like a new menu "flopped." They stated, "In recent years, the best Pizza Hut managed to do is change the cheese in its stuffed crust from mozzarella to cheddar or trot out an occasional, ill-fated appetizer liked the Philly steak melt."

In the lawsuit against EYM, Pizza Hut alleged breach of contract and laid out how they would take control of the restaurants if the debts weren't paid. Now that some have closed, a spokesperson for the company said they are "working to transition these locations and expects many of them will reopen soon."

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