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Pizza Hut to hire 3,000 new delivery drivers every month for the rest of the year

  • Pizza Hut said Tuesday that it will hire around 14,000 delivery drivers by the end of 2017.
  • The company is adding a new technology system to improve the reliability and accuracy of its deliveries.
  • The hiring spree comes just a few months after Yum announced plans to invest $130 million in the struggling pizza chain to upgrade equipment, improve restaurant technology and boost advertising spending through 2018.
Pizza Hut delivery drivers unload pizzas during a unique delivery from aboard the Halo Warthog during a promotional event.
Rod Mar | AP
Pizza Hut delivery drivers unload pizzas during a unique delivery from aboard the Halo Warthog during a promotional event.

Pizza Hut is bolstering its fleet.

The Yum Brands chain announced Tuesday that it will hire around 14,000 delivery drivers by the end of 2017, or about 3,000 a month.

In addition, the company is adding a new technology system to improve the reliability and accuracy of its deliveries. The company said the Delivery Network Algorithm will better predict how long a delivery will take based on the weather, local construction and traffic jams, among other things.

Pizza Hut hopes that the additional labor and the new technology will better serve its customers and lead to more orders. Ramping up its digital presence could also help Pizza Hut better compete with rival Domino's, which is a leader in the pizza space.

The hiring spree comes just a few months after Yum announced plans to invest $130 million in the struggling pizza chain to upgrade equipment, improve restaurant technology and boost advertising spending through 2018.

"We are serious about this, and this focus and commitment to the best experience will hopefully help some customers re-assess the brand if they haven't tried us in a while or haven't had us deliver a pizza before," Nicolas Burquier, chief operating officer at Pizza Hut, said in a statement. "This is about accuracy and consistency, giving our customers a trusted experience."

In May, CEO Greg Creed equated the Pizza Hut investment to the $180 million that Yum put into KFC in 2015. The chicken chain has since seen 11 quarters of same-store sales growth, he said.

Last quarter, Pizza Hut saw global same-store sales fall 3 percent, while its partner brands Taco Bell and KFC saw stronger growth. Taco Bell's same-store sales were up 8 percent, and KFC's rose 2 percent.

In the U.S. alone, Pizza Hut same-store sales were down 7 percent. In previous quarters, the chain has lagged behind as well. Analysts have blamed menu fatigue in the past for these soft sales.

Of course, the pizza chain isn't the only restaurant seeking drivers.

Delivery has become a major priority for restaurants in the last year. If chains aren't using third-party services like Uber, DoorDash or Postmates, among others, they are beginning to create their own fleet of drivers.

Panera Bread said in April that it would hire 10,000 new employees by the end of the year to assist with its in-house delivery initiative. The company said that 75 percent of the new hires would be delivery drivers, while the remaining 25 percent would be in-cafe jobs.

While McDonald's is skipping the need to recruit drivers by partnering with Uber, delivery still requires more people to make the food and monitor the orders. The company is expected to hire 250,000 employees this summer, although it is unclear how many of those hires will be involved with delivery initiatives.

"Our drivers are vitally important to our business, and we want to be the employer of choice for anyone looking to drive," Artie Starrs, president of Pizza Hut, U.S., said in a statement. "Our plan is to keep drivers busy, efficient, and on the road in an effort to best serve our customers. We are only scratching the surface in the territory of services and flexibility that we can offer to those looking to drive."