I was recently in Wichita, Kansas, where Pizza Hut was founded, so I thought I should take a moment to share what I learned about perhaps the nation’s most recognizable pizza brand. Brothers Dan and Frank Carney borrowed $600 to finance their pizza dreams, and the first Pizza Hut opened in Wichita on May 31, 1958. The name Pizza Hut was actually chosen as they only had room for nine characters and spaces on the sign they purchased. Pizza Hut was incorporated in Kansas in 1959, and the first franchise unit opened in Topeka, Kansas. The basic freestanding design of Pizza Hut restaurants, which sadly seems to be going away now, was adopted in 1964 although the familiar red roof was not put in place until 1969. By 1966, a year after their first television commercial aired, their first home office was built in Wichita to handle the pizza of a chain that had grown to over 145 Pizza Hut restaurants. Amazingly, by 1971 Pizza Hut had become the number one pizza restaurant chain in the world in terms of both sales and numbers of restaurants, and, in 1972, it became publicly traded on the New York Stock exchange and went international by opening a restaurant in Costa Rica. Above is a picture of the original Pizza Hut building that has since been relocated to Wichita State University’s campus as the Carney brothers both attended school there, and below is a picture of the plaque attached to “Pizza Hut Number One.” As it states, their $600 investment was eventually sold to PepsiCo in 1977 for $300,000,000 (not a bad return on investment).