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A sign of the global economic times: Pizza Hut to close two of its three restaurants in Iceland

April 9, 2010 |  1:52 pm

So much for those cold, late-night pizza runs. Pizza Hut said Friday that it plans to close two of its three restaurants in Iceland, as a result of the tiny island nation’s economic woes.

The price of fast-food, it seems, has become too much to swallow for hungry Icelanders, whose island nation is still struggling to recover from the 2008 collapse of its currency, the krona. All three of the country’s major banks have collapsed, unemployment has skyrocketed and the number of foreclosures has soared.

So it should come as no surprise that fewer folks are willing to pony up the equivalent of about $17 for a basic cheese pizza. And for the restaurant chain, the price of importing raw materials to whip up that pizza has also risen.

“It’s obvious that families have less money to spend and restaurants are among the first things people cut,” Pizza Hut manager Thordis Loa Thorhallsdottir told Reuters.

The news came about six months after Icelanders were left out in the fast-food cold when McDonald’s turned off its grills at its three restaurants in the capital of Reykjavik.

The problem for McDonald’s? The cost of importing the ingredients for those Big Mac all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce and cheese – not to mention the sesame seed buns – into the land of fire and ice were too much for the franchises to stand.

“For a kilo of onion imported from Germany, I'm paying the equivalent of a bottle of good whiskey,” Jon Gardar Ogmundsson, who owned the firm that owned the McDonald’s franchisee, told BBC News last fall. (Though, before the golden arches finally closed its doors last October, thousands of fans flocked to the capital city of Reykjavik for one last bite.)

But not all is lost: The pizza delivery chain said it will keep dishing out pies at its busiest location, in a mall near Reykjavik.

-- P.J. Huffstutter

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