NPC International is the prince of pepperoni in a pizza empire. The world's largest franchisee of Pizza Hut restaurants, NPC owns and operates more than 1,275 pizza restaurants and delivery kitchens in about 30 states. The quick-service eateries, located mostly in such southern states as Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee, serve a variety of pizza styles, as well as such items as buffalo wings and pasta. The pizza parlors are franchised from YUM! Brands, the world's largest fast-food restaurant company. NPC was founded in 1962 by former chairman Gene Bicknell, who was one of the first Pizza Hut franchisees. The company was acquired by private equity group NPC International Holdings in late 2011.