Pizza Hut Extends Hours Into Late-Night Daypart
Pizza Hut on Monday announced that it is extending its hours into the late-night daypart at “thousands” of restaurants, with units staying open until midnight or 2 a.m.
The restaurant’s full menu will be available for delivery or carryout from the stores open past midnight, the Yum Brands-owned brand said, reinforcing the importance of off-premises channels as the chain extends its hours.
Technology also plays a critical role, Pizza Hut said in a statement, as it will leverage Dragontail tech “to support the goal that each menu item arrives hot and fresh.”
Yum Brands acquired tech firm Dragontail Systems, based in Perth, Australia, for $72.6 million in 2021, with plans to scale its artificial intelligence and delivery technology globally. Even before that acquisition, Dragontail was already in use in nearly 1,500 Pizza Hut restaurants.
In this year’s first-quarter earnings call, Yum CFO Chris Turner said restaurants using Dragontail had experienced consistent “improvements in product quality and customer satisfaction scores.”
Late-night dining has been something of a recent trend across the restaurant industry, as NRN reported in August. Other restaurants to extend or lean into the last daypart this year include Denny’s, IHOP, Jack in the Box, and Wendy’s.
Perhaps Pizza Hut’s extension into late night is not a huge surprise, as Yum Brands’ Taco Bell has also seen its late-night business return this year. That brand felt the most impact from COVID in 2020, largely because of its reliance on late night, but its sales had more than recovered by this summer. Yum Brands CEO David Gibbs said then that “strong growth” in this daypart drove Taco Bell’s second quarter results, so it makes sense that the company would try to duplicate those results at Pizza Hut.