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Pizza Hut says it still has an eye on Mosgiel, despite struggling to find a franchisee to run a new restaurant in the town.
But company franchise manager Alan Brooks says it is not the mystery buyer of Z Energy's former property on the corner of Tay St and Gordon Rd in Mosgiel.
The 1559sq m vacant site sold on November 21, and there has been speculation since the buyer might be planning a Pizza Hut outlet.
Mr Brooks told Taieri Times the restaurant chain was not the buyer, and it was yet to find a suitable franchisee and site for a new restaurant in the town.
The chain boasts 94 outlets across New Zealand, including 60 franchised, but was advertising for a new operator in Mosgiel as well as Oamaru and other centres.
Asked how many potential franchisees he had been talking to, Mr Brooks said: ''Probably no-one, really.''
There had been ''virtually no response'' to the opportunity yet, but it was hoped something could still happen this year, Mr Brooks said.
''We tend to get more franchise inquiries in Auckland than outside of Auckland.
''We've got potential candidates up here who don't want to move ...
''It's just a matter of being able to find someone who is interested in running a business and has some experience.''
The company was offering ''turnkey'' opportunities, meaning it would build, design and set up the new stores, ready to start trading.
The franchisee needed to cover the cost of developing a new outlet, which generally cost about $550,000, Mr Brooks said.
''They probably need to have at least half of that, with some other assets to back up a loan.''