Pizza Hut restaurants have one of the most recognisable architectural designs in all of retail.
The angular, red shingled roofs and trapezoidal windows were designed by architect Richard D. Burke in the 1960s to set the pizza chain apart from its competitors. More than 6,000 restaurants were built off the design, until the early 2000s when Pizza Hut sales began declining and the company started closing roughly 50 stores annually.
Banks, pawn shops, and new restaurants have since reinhabited many of the shuttered Pizza Huts. But because of their unique architecture, the buildings will forever be associated with the ubiquitous pizza chain, no matter who or what comes to occupy them in the future.
Mike Neilson has been collecting and curating photographs of these “dead” Pizza Huts on his blog, Used To Be A Pizza Hut, since 2008. We first saw them on Gizmodo.
This former Pizza Hut in Palmerston North, New Zealand, is now a Subway sandwich shop:
This former Pizza Hut in Versailles, Pa., has been painted turquoise and it’s now a pawn shop:
Neilson said he started collecting photographs of former Pizza Huts because he thought it was funny to see a flower shop or a bank in a building that so obviously belonged to the restaurant chain.
“For me, it’s just about the humour,” he said. “But it’s interesting to see how other people interpret it.”
For many visitors to his website, the image of traditional Pizza Huts invokes nostalgia, he said.
“There are also socioeconomic implications,” he explained. “These are remnants that remind you of a heyday maybe in your neighbourhood or the heyday of Pizza Hut.”
The photos also show some of the unintended consequences of tying your brand so closely to a type of architecture.
This former Pizza Hut in Bellerose, N.Y. is now offering auto leasing services. According to Neilson, a new Pizza Hut has been built up the road from this one.
This Pizza Hut in Beltsville, Md., has been replaced by Sardi’s Pollo a La Brasa, a Peruvian restaurant.
“Not a bad showing here,” Neilson writes of this former Pizza Hut in Norfolk, Va. “No roof hump, but the angled windows are intact.”
This one in Brisbane, Australia, is now selling lingerie and sex toys:
Chinese food is now available at this former Pizza Hut:
And you can buy Mexican Food at this one in Topeka, Kansas:
Finally, a former Pizza Hut where you can take free tuition tax classes: