Pizza Hut is one of those companies that automatically strikes a chord with almost everybody. Most people like pizza and if you do, there's a good chance that you'll also like Pizza Hut. In addition, this is the place where so many people went during their childhood in order to enjoy family dinners, not to mention going there as they grew older and transitioned from teenagers into adults. Therefore, Pizza Hut is a place where there are plenty of fond memories, at least for most people. If you want to know more about this company, consider these 20 things listed below.
1. It was founded in the late 1950s
To be more exact, the year was 1958. Two individuals that had been attending a university in Wichita, Kansas made the decision that it was a good idea to open one of these types of restaurants. Apparently, it didn't take a lot of discussion on their part. That's probably because things were a lot easier back in the 1950s, at least when it came to legal red tape involved in starting a business. These days, it would probably take a lot longer to get an idea like that off the ground but at the time, it really didn't take very long at all.
2. The very first store was located in Wichita, Kansas
Since these two individuals were attending school in Wichita, Kansas, it only makes sense that that's where the first store was located as well. To this day, Wichita proudly considers itself the birthplace of Pizza Hut, as well it should. After all, if it hadn't been for these two people who just happened to be going to school there in town, it's very possible that this idea might never have been born in the first place. Even if it had, it might have wound up somewhere else entirely.
3. Today, there are more than 16,000 restaurants operating all over the world
It might be hard to believe, but there are well over 16,500 restaurants operating in various places all around the globe today. That's a lot of growth from a single restaurant but when you consider the overwhelming popularity of pizza in general and the fact that this is a chain that manages to capitalize on that popularity, it's really not all that surprising after all.
4. The chain has its headquarters located in Plano, Texas
Even though the very first restaurant of its type was opened in Kansas, the modern-day chain has its headquarters in Plano, Texas. Many people wonder why it's not still located in Wichita, considering that's where the company actually got its start. The answer is pretty straightforward. The company was indeed started by those two individuals in Wichita, but they sold that company long ago. As it turns out, its current-day owners prefer to have the headquarters located in Texas.
5. The first store they ever opened was in an actual house
This one really seems to surprise a lot of people. When they opened the first Pizza Hut, it wasn't opened in a mall or in any other commercial location. In reality, it wasn’t even a commercial building. In fact, it was opened in a house, and a small one at that. That's initially how the two individuals that started the company came up with the name Pizza Hut, at least as far as rumor is concerned. The house was tiny, almost hut-like. Since that was the building they could afford to purchase at the time, they quickly came up with the name Pizza Hut and a part of culinary history began.
6. The business was started by two brothers
The two people that started the business didn't just go to school together, they were brothers. They have been living and studying in the area for quite some time and one night, after a long day of classes and studying, they were walking back from one of the campus buildings and came up with the idea to open a pizza restaurant. It's interesting to think that this conversation that happened entirely by chance ended up being one of the most influential restaurants not only in America, but all over the world.
7. Within a year of starting business, they had at least six different locations
They may not have been able to afford to purchase an elaborate building when they first started, but it didn't take them long to start making money. Almost immediately, they began pumping that money back into the business. Six months after opening that first location, they opened a second and within another six months, they opened four more. This is an astonishing rate of growth. It usually takes two or three years for a business to open a second location and that may be as far as it ever goes. The ability to go from not having a business at all to running not one, but six locations in 12 months time is enough to blow the minds of even the most ambitious entrepreneurs.
8. They also started selling franchises after that first year
These two brothers knew early on that if they really wanted to make money, it would come by selling franchises to the business that they were not responsible for running themselves. As such, they started selling those franchises during that first year of business after they opened their sixth location. They provided the franchise name and the person that bought the franchise was responsible for doing everything else while they provided some guidance and support. That got them off the hook from managing each individual location and still made sure that they were making money off of each one that opened.
9. The famous Pizza Hut building didn't come along until the early 1960s
Most people are accustomed to seeing that famous Pizza Hut building with the red roof but you might be surprised to learn that it didn't come along for a few years after they had already started the business. They opened the first Pizza Hut in 1958, but it wasn't until five years later, in 1963, that an architect came up with this design that would eventually be seen on almost all Pizza Huts for years to come.
10. Pepsi bought the company during the late 1970s
There is no doubt that the company was doing a wonderful amount of business and of course, it was doing very well financially. It was doing so well in fact that Pepsi offered to buy the company as a whole in 1977 and the brothers accepted. From that point forward, Pizza Hut was officially owned by Pepsi for several years. Throughout the rest of the 1970s, 1980s,, so on and so forth, Pepsi owned and operated the company until they made the decision to sell it to Yum brands, who currently owns it.
11. They know how to market their pizza
They have never had a problem figuring out how to market their products. Over the years, they've teamed up with several big movie releases in order to make sure that people going to the movies automatically connected seeing that movie and stopping at Pizza Hut, making it more likely that they would do exactly that. As such, they showed up in movies like Back to the Future. They also had celebrities do commercials for them and at one point, they even had a race car that was being driven in NASCAR races with their name on the hood.
12, They really get into education, too
It might be a marketing ploy but it's a very successful one and it accomplishes something good all the same time. For many years, they have sponsored programs throughout elementary and junior high schools around the country that challenge students to read a certain number of books in a very specific amount of time. Those that complete the project get a certificate for a personal pizza and the class that outperforms everybody else around the country gets their very own pizza party delivered to their school, completely on Pizza Hut.
13. They used to have the iconic red glasses for all of your beverages
Unless you're a millennial, you will probably remember those iconic red glasses that all of your beverages used to come in whenever you would eat at Pizza Hut. For years, the restaurant could be identified by looking at nothing other than those tumblers. That's all anybody needed to see in order to know where they came from. These days, the red tumblers have been replaced and are sadly long gone. However, they still live on in photographs and you can frequently find them popping up in places like Pinterest, especially in threads dedicated to what many people call the good old days.
14. At one time, they had a stuffed pizza that was to die for
This was a pizza that was unlike anything else that was available at the time. It was a deep dish pizza but it was stuffed so that all of the ingredients were combined into this delicious upper and lower section of the pizza that made you feel like you were almost in Heaven just to eat it. Unfortunately, it's not something that caught on and Pizza Hut eventually dropped it from the menu. These days, Mazzio's Pizza is trying something similar with their double decker pizza.
15. Their main competition was, at one time, Pizza Inn
Many people that remember the heyday of Pizza Hut also remember eating at Pizza Inn. At the time, the two were fierce competitors and if you could find one in the town you lived in, there was a good chance that you would find the other located at either the opposite end of town or in a neighboring town. Most people will tell you that they favored Pizza Hut's pizza over that of Pizza Inn, but only slightly. In addition, Pizza Inn had the desert stromboli, something that Pizza Hut didn't offer at the time and still doesn't.
16. They pioneered the personal pan pizza
It wasn't long after that remarkable stuffed pizza that they ended up with the personal pan pizza, something that they basically single-handedly pioneered. Sure, deep dish pizza is popular in different places but at the time, nobody else offered a pan pizza quite like this and they certainly didn't offer one that was personalized, just the right size for one person. This became the go to lunch for anyone that wanted pizza and it also worked well for large families who all wanted something different.
17. The oldest Pizza Hut in the United States closed in 2015
This was a location in Manhattan, Kansas. It had been one of the first Pizza Hut's ever opened during that first year of operation in 1958. For many years, it had the distinction of being the oldest Pizza Hut in operation but all of that ended when the store closed down in 2015.
18. The first one opened on the eastern side of the country also closed in 2013
A few years after the very first Pizza Hut opened, they started to open all over the country and one opened in Athens, Ohio. This was a location that many people went to in order to grab a quick bite to eat or celebrate some special day with their family and friends. Sadly, it met the same fate as the Manhattan, Kansas location. As a matter of fact, it even closed down two years before the Kansas store did, shutting its doors in 2013.
19. They have worked to rebrand their image
After a number of stores closed and Pizza Hut saw their sales decline for two years straight, they made the decision last year to completely rebrand their image. They started remodeling stores, workers got new uniforms, and they started focusing more on providing a unique and diverse menu that allowed you to get certain types of pizza you simply couldn't get anywhere else. The idea is to bring the magic back to Pizza Hut.
20. They offer more products than they used to
As a direct result, they offer a lot more products than they used to. You can get pizza with stuffed crust, pasta, sandwiches, salads and even dessert.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker