A high-profile commercial property in Bowling Green will soon be available and another is undergoing change, both part of the evolving strategy of a national restaurant chain.
Pizza Hut, a subsidiary of Louisville-based Yum! Brands Inc., has started renovating the former home of the Nine20Live barbecue restaurant at 164 Iron Skillet Court and will eventually close its location at 2631 Scottsville Road in front of Greenwood Mall.
“We’re relocating from Scottsville Road to Iron Skillet Court,” said Denise Crawford, Pizza Hut district manager. “It’s going to strictly delivery and carryout.”
Moving to the smaller quarters and concentrating on delivery and carryout will align with an industrywide trend that has been hastened by a coronavirus pandemic.
The $75,000 permit to renovate the Iron Skillet Court property near Greenwood High School and the eventual closing of the Scottsville Road location aren’t the only examples of how Pizza Hut’s emphasis on delivery is playing out in Bowling Green.
Cave City-based Fugate Enterprises, the Pizza Hut franchisee for the Bowling Green area, has filed a second building permit for $150,000 to renovate the former Long John Silver’s restaurant at 1414 U.S. 31-W By-Pass and will turn it into a commercial building that houses a Pizza Hut carryout restaurant.
“Pizza Hut is moving its branch at Smallhouse Road to the bypass,” said Eric St. John of Bowling Green’s Neal Turner Realty, who handled the sale of the property after Long John Silver’s closed last summer. “They will lease the front part of the building to someone else and have a pickup-and-delivery Pizza Hut in the back.
“It’s a shift in the way people are eating food now. You don’t see a lot of sit-down Pizza Huts anymore.”
The Pizza Hut at 1200 Smallhouse Road operates primarily as a carryout location now.
Crawford, who has been with Pizza Hut since the 1980s, said relocating the two restaurants is part of a business strategy “to re-position our units to get better coverage and prepare for the future.”
Crawford said the moves will not necessarily reduce the number of employees at the restaurants, which will need to hire more people to handle deliveries.
She isn’t sure how long the renovations will take.
“People will start seeing signs at the Scottsville Road location about the move,” she said. “It’s a big undertaking, but I hope it’s not going to take too long. We look forward to the day when our society opens back up again.”