After a year that saw a sharp drop in dine-in customers and, in some markets, a shortage of delivery drivers, Pizza Hut is embracing the drive through.
The chain says it has installed drive-through windows at over 1,500 locations—with more to come in the near future—as part of a new program it calls “the Hut Lane.”
“We are giving our customers a variety of options to optimize their pizza-eating experience as we build on our business momentum,” said Nicolas Burquier, chief customer and operations officer at Pizza Hut, in a press release.
Drive-through orders will all be handled digitally. Customers will place orders through the Pizza Hut app or website (or by calling the restaurant’s phone line). The new service will not replace delivery or dine-in options.
Customers who don’t have a drive-through at their local Pizza Hut will automatically be offered the option of contactless curbside pickup.
Pizza Hut isn’t the only restaurant to lean into drive throughs in recent years after avoiding them for most of its history. Chipotle, last year, announced plans to hire 10,000 additional workers to expand its mobile order drive-thru lanes—called Chipotlanes.
“We know … how much value a pick-up window can unlock for the business, and we plan to prioritize The Hut Lane in future builds and relocations of existing stores,” said Ron Bellamy, chief improvement officer at Flynn Restaurant Group, America’s larger franchise operator, which earlier this month acquired 937 Pizza Hut locations throughout the U.S. when NPC International filed for bankruptcy.