VIDEO: What ever happened to all those Pizza Huts?
Ever wonder what happened to the thousands of Pizza Hut restaurants that covered the fast food landscape in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s?
Once an Aussie and international dining staple (who could forget ‘all you can eat’ kids’ birthday parties?) Pizza Hut’s numbers have dwindled significantly over the past two decades, with only a couple of hundred outlets remaining across Australia.
And few have retained their iconic original premises – that unmistakeable design with the double-tiered, barn-style roof and brick walls.
But look closely and you’ll be surprised to find the Pizza Hut buildings do still exist, despite the pizza ovens, dessert bars and red checked tablecloths having long since moved on.
It was an obsession with unearthing the world’s lost Pizza Huts that led artists Chloe Cahill and Ho Hai Tran to traverse the globe, tracking down the former restaurants to find out what became of them.
Called ‘Pizza Hunt’, the pair published a book after travelling 30,000km across North America, Australia and New Zealand to photograph hundreds of former Pizza Hut outlets from the golden era of dine-in fast food, which had since been reimagined for a completely different use.
“For some reason, with Pizza Huts they tended not to demolish them, they tended to repurpose them in really interesting ways,” Cahill says.
“So many of them still exist and what we found while travelling is that they’re now all manner of things.”
The list of new uses for old Pizza Hut stores almost defies belief.
There are funeral homes, gospel churches, mosques, veterinary clinics, liquor stores, Chinese and Italian restaurants, pool shops and dozens of other wierd and wonderful uses that have to be seen to be believed.
“You name it and it’s in an old Pizza Hut. There’s usually something about the building, no matter how they’ve altered it, that hints at its past,” Cahill says.
“That’s what makes them unique and that’s why we made it our mission to track them down and shoot them.”
Cahill says they have hopes to investigate more Pizza Huts from yesteryear in South America, if the opportunity presents.
The ‘Pizza Hunt’ book is still available for sale through the Pizza Hunt website.