Colleges And Universitues In Alabana That Have A Football Program The Huts That Pizza Built

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The Huts That Pizza Built

Pizza Hut, the world’s largest pizza chain, has 12,000 stores in 84 countries and one of the most successful franchise systems anywhere. But anyone unfamiliar with the chain might not know that two college kids baked the first of America’s favorite pizzas and used $600 in borrowed money to start selling them in Wichita, Kansas, in 1958. Owned by Dan and Frank Carney. A family of 12 children and always looking for an opportunity to earn money to go to school. So when a landlord encouraged them to open a pizza store – having heard of pizza’s popularity in New York – the brothers jumped at the chance. They had only tasted pizza once, so they asked neighbor John Bender to help with the pizza recipe. Bender remembered the recipe for the sauce but not for the dough, so he just rolled the bread and accidentally got the first thin crust. Next, the brothers wanted a name but didn’t want to spend too much on a sign, so they used the former store. After scrawling the word pizza on it, they found there were no more than three letters to fill it, so they added the word hut. Pizza Hut was born.

Their first year sales were disappointing. No one had heard of Pizza Hut before, so to boost sales, the brothers invited Wichita State University’s football team to dine at Pizza Hut and then give out prizes. So customers started standing in queues every day to eat pizza.

The brothers began franchising in 1959 and licensed their seventh store to Dick Hassur, the manager of their third outlet. The brothers paid him for the franchise and soon he started giving out more franchises to people who already knew the system – a process that is followed to this day. Many former corporate office workers who left or retired became franchisees. One such was Mike Dart, who worked part-time at Pizza Hut while a student, was offered a position in the corporate office after his graduation, and later became vice president of financial services. When he left Pizza Hut, Dart founded the Daland Corporation with other Pizza Hut employees. Daland now has 154 Pizza Hut stores in Florida, Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana.

When Pizza Hut began franchising, the Carne brothers admitted that they gave licenses to people with the will and capital to start. They had no system and in their first five years of franchising, no two Pizza Hut stores were the same. They wrote deals on napkins and sealed them with a handshake. They charged only $100 in franchise fees and no more than $50 in royalty fees. The brothers started charging higher only after they had their entire support system and operating standards in place.

Soon, Pizza Hut became eligible for a public offering. A franchisee suggested that Pizza Hut should expand its company-owned units, and to do so it could offer existing franchisees shares of stock in exchange for their territories and stores. That happened, and it went down as the largest private placement for a Class B institution in the history of the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Pizza Hut went private in 1968. The following year, it made an initial public offering of its shares at $16 per share, and the share price rose to $32.75 within three days. All Pizza Hut franchisees became overnight millionaires. (Interestingly, many franchisees who had traded their outlets bought franchises for stores in new territories.) To consolidate the business, Dan and Frank Carney sold Pizza Hut to the Pepsi Company in 1977. Looking for a strategic partner who would let them run Pizza Hut as they saw fit and Pepsi footed the bill. Eight years later, the company decided to start a delivery service to increase profits. The idea came up because half of all his sales were sold, and while many franchisees initially balked—fearing risk and change—they soon agreed. “Franchises make a good company because they have to pay royalties; and if they’re going to give you a vote on where you’re going,” Frank Carney said early on. “As a result, there’s going to be a lot of disagreement over underlying contracts and direction.” Despite the differences, Pizza Hut’s recognition of the role of franchisees in the system has proven to be the single most important factor in its growth. Indeed, 40 percent of Pizza Hut stores are owned by franchisees, and the average age of a franchise outlet in the system is 13 years.

When the Carney brothers started pizza, they hardly knew anything about it, but their strengths and unwavering ability to know where their strengths lay and determination to use them to shape their growth strategy helped them conquer America – where the pizza division is. A $25 billion business – and the world. Imagine the loss we would have had if they didn’t need money to put them through college!

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