Pizza Hut chief brand officer Marianne Radley has left the company. Radley joined the Yum! Brands chain in February 2018. She was the first woman to be named Budweiser brand manager in the company’s history. Radley was most recently the SVP of global marketing at Monster Energy.
Pizza Hut did not give an immediate reason for her departure.
Radley helped direct a new branding campaign over the summer that brought back the chain’s red-roof logo. She was also involved with the company’s NFL sponsorship, which began in January 2019, expanding beer delivery, and other marketing pushes like plant-based toppings and round boxes and a Stuffed Cheez-It Pizza.
Still, it’s been a challenging time for Pizza Hut as it continues to transition to a modern delivery asset base. The chain closed 98 U.S. locations and opened 39 in the third quarter of fiscal 2019, finishing the period with 7,390 domestic stores versus 7,449 at the start. Stateside same-store sales dropped 3 percent and system sales declined 2 percent. There are 18,532 total global units.
Pizza Hut executives cautioned in Q3 the brand’s soft results will likely carry throughout 2020 as it continues to shutter underperforming units and relocate others to better trade areas. Also, to focus real estate on delivery and carryout models over the classic dine-in locations that once dominated the landscape.
About 90 percent of Pizza Hut’s business is either takeout or delivery. But it closed Q2 with 6,100 traditional units and 1,350 express locations. Roughly half of the first set were dine-in venues. And Pizza Hut’s domestic stores report about a seven-point differential between off-premises and dine-in. Additionally, nearly nine out of every 10 new builds are designed as “Delco” models focused on off-premises—smaller, more efficient concepts that require lower investment from franchisees, of which Yum!’s split hit 98 percent in 2018.
Soon-to-be chief executive David Gibbs said the system sales gap between Pizza Hut’s dine-in channel and off-premises sales this past period narrowed from “historical levels” to three points. There’s still plenty of ways to go, however. Gibbs noted last quarter Pizza Hut would likely drop to as low as 7,000 locations in the U.S.