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This Major National Pizza Chain Is Falling Out of Favor with Customers, Data Shows

Recent sales numbers show your favorite childhood pizza spot is struggling.

Think back to May 2020 and what you might have been ordering for dinner. It's likely that you ordered a pizza from your favorite national chain to be delivered to your house. During the height of the pandemic, people were ordering and devouring pizzas at an astonishing pace—much higher than normal—due to contactless delivery and the novelty of having a hot meal that didn't need to be made at home.

Now that restaurants in every state are reopening, are people really that into pizza? The answer is, well, complicated… and one pizza chain is continuing to fall out of favor with customers.

Read on to find out which one it is, and for more, check out This Viral Video Shows a Shocking Truth About Fast Food.

It's the pizza chain of your childhood: Pizza Hut.

pizza hut
Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock

Sad, but true. According to Restaurant Business, Pizza Hut's overall year-over-year sales fell 2.2% in 2020. Meanwhile, its biggest competitors, Domino's and Papa John's, had net gains of 17.6% and 15.9%, respectively.

Pizza Hut's declining sales were due in large part to the pandemic, which closed hundreds of locations across the country. The chain's largest franchisee also declared bankruptcy, which caused the company to lock the doors, shutter 300 locations, and offer up another 927 locations for sale.

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The chain has failed to keep up with modern times.


Pizza Hut has struggled over the years to find a brand identity. Unlike its competitors like instance, when you hear,  you instantly think of Little Caesars ("Pizza Pizza!") and Papa John's ("Better Ingredients, Better Pizza"), the chain never had a popular catchphrase or slogan, which hindered its brand recognition.

What's more, the pizza chain was slow to warm up to new innovations. In 2018, Pizza Hut was the only chain owned by Yum Brands to still operate its own delivery service despite a shiny new partnership with GrubHub, the third-party delivery app that many millennials and gen z-ers use to get food. A year later, Pizza Hut gave in, but it insisted on using its own delivery drivers to drop off pizzas that were ordered through the Grubhub app.

Related: 7 Discontinued Pizza Hut Foods

Their competition is steep.

pizza hut pizza
Pizza Hut/ Facebook

Let's be honest: The fast-food pizza chain game is a tough one. Brands like Domino's and Papa John's have taken over what was once Pizza Hut's domain by perfecting mobile ordering and partnering with food delivery apps to keep business booming.

Competitors also have deeper discounts, deals, and loyalty programs than Pizza Hut, which has failed to roll out similar promotions on the same scale, Bloomberg reports. According to Restaurant Business, Pizza Hut is aware of the issue, and much of it goes back to franchisees who are slow to jump on board with anything new.

Related: The Best & Worst Menu Items at Pizza Hut

Dine-in stores are closing but not reopening as take-out quickly.

pizza hut interior

Pizza Hut was once known as a fast-casual dine-in pizza place with white and red checkerboard tablecloths and the occasional arcade game to play while you waited for your order. Fast-forward to 2021, and consumers don't want dine-in pizza, they want to take it home and eat it in the comfort of their recliner while watching TV.

Dine-in restaurants only account for about 10% of Pizza Hut's sales. In 2019, Pizza Hut announced it would be closing 500 stores (most of them dine-in) over two years, replacing them with express locations. This was a good start for the slumping chain, but will it be enough for the Hut to regain popularity amongst its customers? Only time will tell.

For more, check out This Iconic, High-End Pizza Chain Is Expanding to New Locations.

Megan duBois
Megan duBois is a travel and lifestyle journalist with bylines across the internet and in print at Delish, Conde Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, Yahoo Lifestyle, and more. Read more about Megan