Sep 032014

By Tammy Gray

A new Holiday Inn Express is coming to Holbrook, and Pizza Hut will soon move in with Taco Bell, according to City Manager Ray Alley.

Alley explained that he has recently heard numerous rumors about new businesses potentially coming to Holbrook, but the Holiday Inn Express is the only one he can confirm. He noted that he has received a building permit application for the new construction.

The hotel will be built on Navajo Blvd., just south of Burger King. A sign marking the location has been in place, but actual construction work has not started.

Holbrook previously had a Holiday Inn Express, but it was converted to a Lexington Inn. The new hotel is one of 498 Holiday Inn Express hotels that the parent company, Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG), has in the pipeline. As of June 2014, there were a total of 2,295 Holiday Inn Express hotels worldwide.

Alley noted that the permit application is on his desk and work is expected to begin soon.

He also explained that Taco Bell and Pizza Hut are planning a combination store that will require a remodel of the existing Taco Bell location.

City Clerk Cher Millage noted that she has been speaking with the company’s architect regarding plans for the fast food building. The building permit has not yet been issued, but she believes that the plans will move forward soon.

According to Millage, the old Pizza Hut building will not be removed, but will be closed when the transition is complete.

Both Pizza Hut and Taco Bell are owned by Yum! Brands, which also owns Kentucky Fried Chicken. The company recently reported a growth in sales for Taco Bell, but a drop in revenue for Pizza Hut.

In a quarterly report released in July, CEO David Novak noted, “At Taco Bell, we’re very pleased with the initial results of our national breakfast launch and have a strong new product pipeline across all day-parts to drive a strong second half. At Pizza Hut, although second-quarter results were disappointing, we are taking significant actions in our U.S. business to reignite sales and expect to make substantial progress (in the) balance of (the) year.”

Combination stores that include both Taco Bell and Pizza Hut are becoming more common throughout the country, and are even the subject of a song that pokes fun at the unexpected combination.

The combination stores typically include a Pizza Hut Express that offers a smaller menu, and either no delivery or limited delivery times, such as evenings on weekends. Millage did not note whether the combination Pizza Hut will follow the express model, but did state that she had expressed her concerns to store officials regarding leaving the old building empty.