Overland Park-based NPC, already the largest Pizza Hut franchisee, is buying 140 more Wendy’s restaurants to become the largest Wendy’s franchisee, as well.
That brings NPC’s total to 386 Wendy’s, which will produce revenues of more than $590 million. The new restaurants are mostly in the greater Baltimore and Washington, D.C., areas, according to the company. They were previously operated by DavCo Restaurants.
NPC also owns 1,136 Pizza Hut restaurants, about 20 percent of all Pizza Huts in the country.
“In addition to delighting every customer through superior restaurant operations, we plan to make significant investments in the market through Image Activation and the implementation of a new Aloha point of sale system at every location,” Jim Schwartz, chairman and CEO of NPC International, said in a statement.
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Both chains are running into some difficulty. In 2016, sales at NPC’s Wendy’s were up 1.1 percent from 2015, while its Pizza Hut locations were down 1.2 percent from the year before.
National restaurant chains have struggled with sluggish sales over the last five years, driving some to close stores or go into bankruptcy.
Wendy’s has pushed for the sale of the DavCo stores to get a franchisee that will reinvest in the restaurants, as part of an attempt by the company to reinvigorate sales. NPC agreed to remodel 90 acquired restaurants by the end of 2021 and build 15 new Wendy’s restaurants by the end of 2022.
“As we continue to transform the system by facilitating restaurant sales to franchisees who have demonstrated operations excellence, brand and organizational leadership, and reinvestment in the business, we’re excited about NPC’s commitment to help Wendy’s reach its full potential in these important growth markets,” Todd Penegor, president and CEO of The Wendy’s Company, said in a statement.
NPC was started by Gene Bicknell in Pittsburg in 1962 as National Pizza Co. It was one of the first franchisees of Dan and Frank Carney’s then new Pizza Hut restaurant.
Bicknell and other owners sold NPC to Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity in 2006. Today, NPC is owned by an entity controlled by Olympus Growth Fund V, and affiliated entities.