New owner vows to turn local Pizza Huts around
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This article was published 13/05/2009 (5070 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
THIRTEEN Pizza Hut restaurants in Manitoba have a new owner who feels he can deliver renewed profitability to the franchise.
Dwight Fraser, already the Toronto-based chain’s second-biggest franchisee, has signed a deal with Yum! Restaurants Canada to take over the locations, including 10 in Winnipeg, three months after the previous franchisee had racked up debts of $1.5 million to 80 creditors and sought bankruptcy protection.
“This is our sixth acquisition. We really believe in the Pizza Hut brand. Every time we’ve taken over a market, we seem to have been successful at it,” he said.
Fraser, who is based in New Brunswick and has 69 stores across his home province, Ontario, Nova Scotia and now Manitoba, said he won’t waste any time in implementing changes to boost sales. They include launching Pizza Hut’s online ordering system for pickup and delivery, adding wings to the menu and redeveloping stores to the latest company specifications as leases come due.
“We know it’s a great brand. We’ve seen the sales in Winnipeg and we feel there’s room for us to grow. It takes time, it doesn’t happen overnight,” he said.
Sabina Rizvi, chief financial officer of Yum!, said it sought out Fraser at the request of Tom Frohlinger, a Winnipeg lawyer who owned the local franchises previously.
“Winnipeg is a very strong pizza market for us. The sales have sustained themselves. We’re excited to have Dwight operating in this market. We have a lot of history in Winnipeg,” she said.
Pizza Hut, which has operated in Manitoba since the mid-’80s, employs more than 300 full- and part-time employees. It has 315 stores across Canada, including rural Manitoba locations in Selkirk, Steinbach and Portage la Prairie.