Pizza Hut is getting its own museum next year in its birthplace of Wichita, Kansas. The chain, which opened its first hut there 58 years ago, has moved the tiny brick building that housed it to Wichita State University, where it will be featured in a museum of entrepreneurship opening next year.
"The new relocation is to showcase the restaurant as part of a recently added Innovation Center on campus, which is designed to focus on entrepreneurship," Yum Brands Senior Director of Public Relations Doug Terfehr told Pizza Marketplace about the chain's first unit. "It was moved to Wichita State University in 1986, when the street it was on was being widened. The original Pizza Hut will be redesigned as a museum to the company's heritage and will open early next year."
A Wichita TV station reported the story Monday, showing video of the 500-square-foot brick building being very slowly trucked to its new home. The station said the museum would feature the chain's trademark red roof and display historic memorabilia from Wichita resident and chain co-founder, Dan Carney.
As college students, brothers, Dan and his brother, Frank Carney, opened the very first "hut" location near what was then known as the University of Wichita in 1958. Today, the chain, which is under Yum Brands ownership, spans the world with thousands of locations, as one of the world's largest restaurant companies. Yum Brands is contributing to the cost of the museum, although Terfehr couldn't disclose the amount of the contribution.
The Carney brothers sold the chain to PepsiCo in 1977, and it was later acquired by Yum Brands. The KSN-TV story said the brothers raised $1.2 million to move the original store and help launch the museum.
Award-winning veteran print and broadcast journalist, Shelly Whitehead, has spent most of the last 30 years reporting for TV and newspapers, including the former Kentucky and Cincinnati Post and a number of network news affiliates nationally. She brings her cumulative experience as a multimedia storyteller and video producer to the web-based pages of Pizzamarketplace.com and QSRweb.com after a lifelong “love affair” with reporting the stories behind the businesses that make our world go ‘round. Ms. Whitehead is driven to find and share news of the many professional passions people take to work with them every day in the pizza and quick-service restaurant industry. She is particularly interested in the growing role of sustainable agriculture and nutrition in food service worldwide and is always ready to move on great story ideas and news tips.