Notable chains Pizza Hut, Domino’s, and Papa John’s each announced plans to hire more workers to meet the increased demand for delivery and carryout. Each of the brands said they offer contactless delivery and that they have ramped up sanitation procedures, including repeated cleaning of surfaces and increased frequency of handwashing.
Pizza Hut is hiring 30,000 permanent positions including delivery drivers, cooks, shift leaders, restaurant managers, and virtual call center agents. The company said delivery drivers will be on the road in five hours, which is three times faster than the previous training process.
The company said that while candidates are still required to take all of the standard training, the onboarding process was expedited by reordering the training so that new hires take safety and delivery courses at the beginning.
“We’re in close communication with our franchisee partners to ensure the onboarding process is as smooth as possible,” a Pizza Hut spokesperson said in an email to QSR. “We’re expediting our hiring and onboarding process to accommodate their restaurant needs, and to get delivery drivers on the road quickly and safely.”
The increased demand is welcome news for Pizza Hut, which saw its domestic comps drop 4 percent in Q4. Same-store sales dropped 3 percent in Q3. The U.S. store count stands at 7,306, after shuttering 136 in the fourth quarter.
Yum! Brands CEO David Gibbs said one of Pizza Hut’s goals is to have consistent execution in its customer experience across delivery and carryout, which accounts for about 90 percent of business. An ongoing strategy is to take dine-in restaurants and move them to areas that fit an off-premises model. Midway through 2019, there were more than 6,000 traditional units and just 1,350 express locations. Half of the traditional locations were dine-in venues.
Papa John’s said it plans to hire 20,000 new workers. The brand said it simplified the hiring process so that most individuals can start in most restaurants on the same day. Applications can be completed online in a few minutes, and the company is offering flexibility to interview by phone or in-person, with some safety precautions.
Delivery drivers are equipped with sanitation kits for use before, during, after, and in-between deliveries.
The brand said it was adequately staffed prior to the pandemic, but they are increasing the number of hires for shift leaders and delivery drivers to meet the needs of customers and the communities it serves.
“Our restaurants are well-equipped to accept new team members,” a company spokesperson said. “The recruitment, hiring, and training processes have all been streamlined to help more effectively onboard new team members so they are able to begin work in a matter of hours in most of our restaurants. This includes incorporating our new health and safety measures for team members and customers.”
Papa John’s has had its share of challenges, as well, given the controversy with its founder. However, the brand is rebounding and continued that momentum into Q1.
From December 30 to January 26, comp sales leaped 9.4 percent at U.S. corporate stores, 7.1 percent at North American franchises, 7.6 percent systemwide in North America, and 4.9 percent internationally.
By the end of Q1, the trajectory of those numbers was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, but the pizza chain still remained in the black. Same-store sales at North American units systemwide grew 5.3 percent. Comps increased 6.1 percent at domestic company-operated stores and 5.1 percent at North American franchises. International units grew 2.3 percent. The only period to dip below zero came February 24 to March 29 when comp sales at international stores dipped 0.6 percent.
The brand recently added Uber Eats as a third-party partner, in addition to existing partnerships with DoorDash and Postmates. That channel represents about 2 percent of sales, which CEO Rob Lynch said is incremental.