Pizza Hut snaps up Eagle Boys

Sarah Stowe

Pizza Hut CEO Lisa Ransome with Collaroy franchisee Michael CooperStores in the beleagured Eagle Boys pizza chain can see a future now the brand has been bought out by one of its major competitors, Pizza Hut.

The first re-branded store has officially opened in Sydney’s northern beaches suburb Collaroy.

It’s the initial step in a national rollout that will bring Pizza Hut’s network to more than 320 stores, representing the biggest-ever network for Pizza Hut in Australia.

About half of the 50 plus stores will switch to Pizza Hut by the end of the year. Umina on New South Wales’ central coast will open next week, followed by, in order, stores in Western Australia, South Australia, Northern Territory, regional NSW and Queensland.

The expansion is the first major move in reinvigorating the Pizza Hut brand, which is now under Australian management for the first time.

Pizza Hut Australia CEO Lisa Ransom said “We are thrilled to work with a new group of passionate pizza franchisees from Eagle Boys. The future is all about growth and innovation for Pizza Hut and converting stores into Pizza Hut over the next few months is one way we are bringing a dynamic new energy and new customer focus to the market.

“It’s a significant opportunity to grow the distribution and brand presence of Pizza Hut for our customers and take advantage of the economies of scale that come with being a bigger organisation.”

Ransom told FranchiseBusiness that existing franchisees are the company’s first priority and not all stores in the Eagle Boys chain are being rebranded.

“The franchisees who fit with the needs of the network have been signed up; Pizza Hut will be in talks with the remainder of the Eagle Boys chain about opportunities that don’t conflict with existing Pizza Hut operators,” she said.

The company’s immediate focus will be on the conversion process. Pizza Hut’s size means the extra 50 plus stores can be easily absorbed into the infrastructure, Ransom says.

“That’s why this is a good opportunity for Eagle Boys’ franchisees, there won’t be a change to costs and that’s an advantage.”

The new Collaroy store is operated by Michael Cooper, an Eagle Boys franchisee for seven years who said he was looking forward to the opportunities that will come from being a part of a revitalised Pizza Hut.

“It’s an exciting opportunity to be a part of the re-invention of Pizza Hut. The acquisition means we can continue to trade, providing jobs for locals.

“The marketing opportunities will increase dramatically and I’m looking forward to seeing the planned product innovation and digital platforms.

“Working with such a driven and experienced leadership team will also help to grow my own business strengths.”