(CNN) - The operator of 1,200 Pizza Huts and nearly 400 Wendy’s restaurants is filing for bankruptcy.
NPC International, Pizza Hut's largest franchisee, filed for chapter 11 Wednesday.
The group has been struggling with pandemic-related shut-downs, rising labor and food costs, and massive debt of nearly $1 billion.
NPC says it employs nearly 40,000 people in 27 states. The company’s restaurants will continue to operate while it navigates the bankruptcy process, and it expects to be able to continue to pay and provide customary benefits to its employees.
“As we go through this process, that focus on providing outstanding and safe service to guests in our Wendy’s and Pizza Hut restaurants will not change. Our restaurants remain open on normal schedules, and we are maintaining the highest standards of safety, cleanliness and hygiene,” said Carl Hauch, CEO & president of NPC’s Wendy’s division.
NPC is just one of several U.S. companies to file for bankruptcy during the COVID-19 pandemic. 24-Hour Fitness, Neiman Marcus and J Crew all have filed in the past two months.