Pizza Hut locations in Covington and Clifton Forge  were closed as part of a deal  between Yum! Brands Inc. and its largest franchisee, NPC International.

Leawood, Kan.-based NPC, which also operates almost 400 Wendy’s restaurants, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in  July after struggling with approximately $1 billion in debt.

Yum! Brands, based in Louisville, Ky., operates the brands Pizza Hut, KFC and Taco Bell.

As part of its bankruptcy deal, NPC, which was Pizza Hut’s largest franchisee,  agreed to close 300 of its Pizza Hut locations and sell the remaining 927.

The Clifton Forge Pizza Hut was closed in September and the Covington restaurant closed on Tuesday. 

“As part of our restructuring process, we made the very difficult decision to close the Covington Pizza Hut restaurant on February 9. We did not take this decision lightly, and we are committed to providing support to impacted employees,” said NPC spokeswoman Shannon O’Connor.

“Ultimately, these actions will best position our remaining restaurant business for success.  NPC continues to operate many other Pizza Hut restaurants across the country which remain open for business,” she  said.

NPC said the Pizza Huts it selected for closure were underperforming when compared to the rest of the chain’s locations. The majority of the restaurants on the closure list were dine-in locations.

In recent years, Pizza Hut  has sought to move away  from its reputation as a dine-in restaurant and transition  to delivery and takeout. That change-over has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prior to bankruptcy reorganization, NPC International  operated 20 percent of the Pizza Hut’s  restaurants in the U.S.

In January, NPC reached an agreement to sell 925 Pizza Hut restaurants and half of its Wendy’s locations to Flynn Restaurant Group. 

Also under the agreement, NPC will sell its remaining Wendy’s restaurants to Wendy’s International LLC. 

The combined purchase price of the two sale transactions is approximately $801 million.

According to NPC’s website, it does not own the Wendy’s in Covington. 

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The former location of the Pizza Hut on Main Street in Clifton Forge is now for sale. The restaurant closed in September 2020. The Pizza Hut in Covington closed earlier this week. Both locations were victims of a bankruptcy deal as Pizza Hut’s largest franchisee, NPC, agreed to close approximately 300 locations. (Gavin Dressler Photo)