Pizza Hut to close 29 restaurants, threatening 450 jobs

Pizza Hut has confirmed a list of 29 sites up for closure as part of a rescue deal that could lead to the loss of 450 jobs.

Sites in Cambridge, Leicester, Sheffield and Stratford, east London, are all at risk as the group considers cutting about 10% of its 244 outlets.

The main UK franchisee of the US-owned business is also seeking to cut rents, asking landlords to base payment demands on turnover at each outlet, under a restructuring deal called a company voluntary arrangement (CVA).

The CVA, which was confirmed on Friday, does not affect the Pizza Hut delivery business, which is separately owned. Landlords and other creditors will have to approve the deal at a meeting set for 28 September.

Pizza Hut Restaurants said: “We are doing everything we can to redeploy our team members from our Pizza Hut Restaurants locations that are at the highest risk of closure and minimise the impact to our workforce.”

The spokesperson said it was not possible to confirm the exact number of job losses at each restaurant, adding: “We understand this is a difficult time for everyone involved and are supporting our team members as much as possible throughout this transition.”

The planned closures and redundancies follow similar moves at Pizza Express and Azzurri Group, the owner of Ask Italian and Zizzi, Carluccio’s and the Casual Dining Group, which owns Bella Italia, Café Rouge, and Las Iguanas.

Pizza and pasta specialists were already under pressure before the coronavirus pandemic after overexpansion led to oversaturation of the market. Jamie Oliver shut down his 22-strong Jamie’s Italian chain in the UK last year, although it continues to operate via franchisees overseas.

In 2020, the restaurant trade has taken another heavy blow as high street lockdowns, physical-distancing rules and fears over Covid-19 have hit trade, forcing cutbacks and closures by a string of well-established names.