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FOOD SERVICES | Staff Reporter, UK

Pizza Hut Restaurants completes management buy out

It announced the completion of a management buyout of the chain from its private equity backer Rutland Partners.

Assisted through funding from Pricoa Capital Group, the international private capital investment arm of PGIM, the MBO will see the management team, led by CEO Jens Hofma, take control of the business with a new franchise agreement in place with Pizza Hut’s brand owner, Yum! Brands.

Over the past five years, the management team has led Pizza Hut Restaurants through a significant turnaround programme, which has resulted in a reversal of customer spending back into consistent sales growth and increased EBITDA by in excess of £17m.

Following Rutland Partners’ acquisition of the business in 2012, over £60 million has been re-invested in the turnaround strategy, which has involved the complete redesign of the restaurant estate and the relaunch of the menu. Underpinning the business strategy is a new service model which keeps people at the heart of the business, with a market-leading training programme developed to ensure restaurant teams are not only operationally excellent but deliver genuine customer experiences.

With the refurbishment programme now nearly complete, the new ownership structure will aim to build on the current success and drive further growth in the UK market, including potential new restaurant openings where the right opportunities are available.

Jens Hofma, CEO Pizza Hut Restaurants UK said, “Five years ago, we began an incredible journey and we’re now experiencing the true extent of the positive impact Rutland Partners’ investment and guidance has made to the business.

“Our focus has been on our three most important assets: our people, our Huts and our menu. Our investment and strategy in those areas has helped us to revitalise our estate and cement our status in the UK’s fast-casual dining market.

“As we take control of the next stage, our mission remains unchanged: to be the most loved place to eat and work, and I’m delighted with the funding and backing Pricoa is providing to allow that to be possible and for the partnership we continue to enjoy with the wider Yum! Business. We have only got to where we are today because of the great team of people that work for us and with us. Across our estate the passion and dedication of our team members is phenomenal and they will continue to remain vital to our business strategy as we move forwards.”

Reese Neumann, chief growth officer for Pizza Hut Europe said, “Pizza Hut Restaurants has shown tremendous growth over the past five years and this sale clearly demonstrates the commitment and desire their management team has to maintain that momentum for many years to come. This is an exciting time for the UK restaurant business and matches our plans to continue our expansion in Europe with our focus on improving the customer experience and digital capabilities in the region. Pizza Hut Restaurants is a trusted partner and I am excited to be working with Jens Hofma to take the Pizza Hut brand from strength to strength.”

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