Pizza Hut franchisee closes call center abruptly, citing changes in pizza-ordering habits

A Springfield call center that processed orders for Pizza Hut locations around the country closed without advance notice Wednesday, leaving more than 100 employees without jobs.

NPC International, the Pizza Hut franchisee that operates the East Sunshine Street call center, attributed the move to a change in pizza ordering habits.

“This closure is due to a decline in call center orders caused by an increase in internet orders and the fact that more customers are calling stores directly and they are answering more and more of their own calls,” a note posted on the door read.

Pittsburg, Kansas-based NPC International says on its website it is the largest Pizza Hut franchisee in the world, with over 1,250 locations in 28 states, or 20 percent of the domestic Pizza Hut system.

Pizza Hut locations take orders by phones, but the calls would go to the Springfield call center or others if a restaurant’s line was busy.

20-year-old employee Passion Casey said she stopped by the call center Tuesday for her schedule, and was told it would be ready Wednesday. When she returned Wednesday morning, she saw the note on the door.

“I feel like they should have gave us a heads-up,” Casey said. “I have kids to provide for. I have bills to pay.”

Casey said she hadn’t received a phone call about the closure, but call center manager Mark Hubbell said all employees had been called, although not all of them had picked up. Hubbell said he only learned the closure of the center was a done deal Tuesday night.

“It’s just one of those situations where it happened suddenly, but we’re trying out best to find employees other jobs,” he said.

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