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Current as of 23/09/16 07:39PM NZST
Retail, Innovation and Manufacturing reporter for the NZ Herald

Last dine-in Pizza Hut delays closure

The iconic red roofed Pizza Hut is now part of history. Pictured: the former Whangarei Pizza Hut / Photo by  Ron Burgin
The iconic red roofed Pizza Hut is now part of history. Pictured: the former Whangarei Pizza Hut / Photo by Ron Burgin

Pizza Hut lovers are getting a respite after the last eat-in restaurant in New Lynn announced it would remain open for another month due to popular demand.

The store was originally set to close at the end of the month to make way for 80 carparks for Lynn Mall shoppers but a spokesperson for the company said since the news broke that it was closing, the restaurant had been swamped by customers wanting to visit one last time.

"The store was originally due to close on February 28, but the date for demolition has been pushed back a month to allow for the huge influx of patrons wanting to experience dining at the red-roofed legacy," the company said.

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The restaurant chain used to be known for its all-you-can-eat pizza, pasta, salads and desserts but has moved away from this model in the last few years in a bid to keep up with the changing fast food industry.

The store will now close on March 20 and reopen a Pizza Hut takeaway store on the edge of the New Lynn mall.

Despite being overwhelmed by customers wanting to relive the experience, not all Pizza Hut goers were happy. One diner, Jared Veale, said despite fond memories of the restaurant, it was "not worth the visit".

"To all who thought they would try to re-live the nostalgia of dine-in Pizza Hut by going to the last remaining one before it closes down, I can tell you right now - don't even bother," Veale said.

"We tried to go last night and were greeted by about 10 or 12 people battling over three pizzas and one lady complaining that she wanted a refund."

Veale said his group were eventually told they would have to wait a minimum of 15 minutes before being let in, and would then have just 15 minutes to eat before having to leave.

"They seemed to be bringing out the bare minimum amount of pizzas that they could get away with and I didn't see any desert, although I didn't actually get all the way in," Veale said. "We decided it wasn't worth it."

The last remaining restaurant in Auckland's New Lynn was also the first of the chain to open in New Zealand in 1974 and has been running for 41 years.

Pizza Hut is owned by Restaurant Brands which also operated the KFC, Carl's Jr and Starbucks brands. The company has owned and operated Pizza Hut since 1997 when it took over from Pepsico.

- NZ Herald

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