Every economic sector around the globe has taken a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic but its the food industry that has experienced a major blow on the economic side. The United States, NPC International, the country's largest franchisee of Pizza Hut and Wendy's restaurants, has filed for bankruptcy. The Kansas-based company, which operates 1,200 Pizza Hut restaurants and nearly 400 Wendy's outlets, filed for Chapter 11 on Wednesday, citing a debt of nearly $1 billion dollars.
The different chains employs nearly 36,000 workers across 30 states, but NPC International says it expects to keep all locations open while it works to eliminate debt and negotiate with its landlords.
There are around 7,100 Pizza Huts across the United States, meaning NPC International operates around 17 per cent of all the restaurants. The company operates about 6 per cent of the 6,500 Wendy's restaurants that are open across the country. According to NPC International it has been not only hit hard by the global pandemic, but has also cited 'rising food and labor costs'.
The CEO of NPC International's Pizza Hut division, Jon Weber, released a statement saying the company will use the Chapter 11 filing to 'evaluate and optimize our restaurant portfolio so that we are best positioned to meet the needs of consumers across the country.'
NPC International is the latest in a line of companies that have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy since the coronavirus pandemic caused nationwide shutdowns back in March. Just last week, CEC Entertainment, the parent company of Chuck E. Cheese and Peter Piper Pizza, also filed for Chapter 11. Meanwhile, rental car giant Hertz filed for Chapter 11 last month after failing to reach an agreement with its top lenders. According to various business reports the company has roughly $19billion of debt.