It was a double win for Rutland at last night’s British Private Equity Awards 2018; Management Team of the Year and Turnaround Deal of the Year, both for Pizza Hut.
These prestigious awards are designed to showcase innovation, resilience and excellence within the UK private equity industry. The shortlist was judged and drawn up by industry veterans with the final judging going to a public vote.
The Pizza Hut Restaurants UK management team has delivered a stunning turnaround, transforming a failing business, which was in long term decline, into a reinvigorated business with over £17m of EBITDA growth.
The business had a tired format and under invested restaurants, but the team developed and executed an ambitious, brave strategy to reconnect the concept with its customers, deliver an enjoyable and good value experience and to take the 10,000 team members on the journey.
The result was a £60m investment in the restaurant estate, which saw the business apply unprecedented levels of rigour around restaurant capex to deliver excellent paybacks and a dramatically refreshed concept, which brought the business back to its American inspired pizza roots.
Rutland Partners invested in Pizza Hut Restaurants UK in 2012 against a backdrop of long-term decline, underinvestment, a waning brand and a complex franchise arrangement. The business was widely marketed but found little interest as it appeared too complex and challenging.
With the help of an outstanding management team, Rutland took the time to understand the business, the situation and the latent potential, acquiring the business after a long transaction process where a completely bespoke franchise centric transaction structure required development.
The turnaround in performance was stunning and the business was successfully exited in April 2018, delivering an excellent return for Rutland Partners.
Nick Morrill, managing partner, said: “The Pizza Hut Restaurants deal was considered a significant challenge but we invested behind a great team and demonstrated what Rutland can bring to such complex challenges. Securing a strong exit in a struggling sector is great testimony to what we and management have achieved.”