Pizza Hut's UK restaurant business reverses losses

11 August 2015 by
Pizza Hut's UK restaurant business reverses losses

The Pizza Hut restaurant business in the UK has hailed a "very positive" performance with its pre-tax profits hitting £9m in 2014.

The performance reverses a pre-tax loss of nearly £1m in the year to 30 November 2013.

Meanwhile, revenue for the business dropped slightly in 2014 to £225.5m, down from just over £230m the year before.

The reduction was as a result of the closure of 22 restaurants.

The news comes as the business is just over a third of the way through the refurbishment of its estate. It had already indicated that sales and EBITDA would rise as a result of the changes.

Pizza Hut said that the refurbishment programme was still "in its infancy" at the time the accounts were filed and would build this year and next.

The restaurant business, which was acquired from Yum! Brands by private equity firm Rutland Partners in October 2012, started its refurbishment programme with its Crawley site in October 2013.

By May this year it had "reimaged" a total of 82 restaurants out of an estate currently numbering 275 sites.

In addition to a new menu with items such as fries, onion rings, and starters like spicy BBQ ribs and Alabama style popcorn shrimp sitting alongside the traditional pizza options, the restaurants have been given a more informal and relaxed look. The design combines leather booth seating, wood-panelled walls, and more prominent bar areas to try and boost sales in the evening, with a careful seating layout designed to optimise volume growth by ensuring tables can be turned quickly and wait times for customers are reduced.

Pizza Hut, which is headed by chief executive Jens Hofma, was reportedly bought by turnaround specialist Rutland Partners for a token £1. Rutland retained the management team and pledged to invest £20m into the business immediately and then to re-invest £40m of cashflow over the following five years when it announced the deal in 2012.

The deal excluded the Pizza Hut delivery business, which is still owned by Yum! Brands.

Pizza Hut refurbs spark sales and EBITDA rise >>

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