Pizza Hut, which closed all the local restaurants owned by its New Orleans franchisee in January in a legal dispute, has since opened eight corporate-owned stores in the Baton Rouge area and will open two more by the end of the year.
Spokesman Chris Fuller said the two under way on Coursey Boulevard and Greenwell Springs Road will be completed within the next couple months and that at least one more will be built next year.
The transition marks the end of Pizza Hut as a dine-in option in Baton Rouge. All of the new locations are delivery/carry-out, Fuller said.
Fuller would not comment on the legal battle with Lundy Enterprises, which operated Pizza Hut restaurants in south Louisiana for decades.
“We’re staying more focused on redeveloping the market,” Fuller said.
Pizza Hut shut down 44 restaurants in south Louisiana in January and sued Lundy, claiming he had not paid more than $75,000 owed for royalty and advertising fees. In February, Lundy filed a countersuit, claiming Pizza Hut broke franchise agreements and acted in bad faith. The suits have been combined and will be heard in a Dallas federal court in July.
A number listed for Lundy Enterprises was no longer in service Tuesday so the company could not be reached for comment.
The restaurants opened since the beginning of the year join stores co-branded with Taco Bell and locations in Walker and Brusly, which were corporate-owned and remained open while the Lundy locations were closed.
The new ones include one on Highland Road, one on Bluebonnet Boulevard, two in Denham Springs, and one each in Zachary, Geismar, Gramercy and Prairieville.
Pizza Hut has also opened a store in Hammond.
Parent company Yum! Brands owns Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, KFC, Long John Silver’s, WingStreet and A&W Restaurants. Fuller said all the new locations will include the WingStreet concept.