National / International News
Pizza Hut, the nation’s biggest pizza chain, is overhauling its brand. There’s a new logo, a more casual uniform, and fresh leadership, but the biggest upgrade is the menu.
Taking a hint from fast casual stars Chipotle and Chop't, Pizza Hut will allow customers to design their own pies with curry-flavored crusts and Sriracha sauce. They're doubling flavor options and going exotic.
The question is, can those changes help Pizza Hut get back on track? It's reported same-store sales declines for eight straight quarters, while rivals like Domino’s Pizza and Little Caesars have enjoyed gains.
At Pizza Hut’s Plano, Texas headquarters, chief marketing officer Carrie Walsh shows off what looks like artisan pizza – a thin-crust pie with bright green spinach and red Peruvian peppers, topped with a spiral swirl of balsamic.
There are more than two dozen new ingredients on Pizza Hut’s “Flavor Of Now” menu. Customers will be able to choose flavors to brush onto crusts – like “Pretzel Piggy” and “Ginger Boom Boom”. There are four drizzles, and a skinny lineup for those seeking a lighter, healthier pie.
“In fact there are now two billion ways you can customize your pizza,” Walsh says.
Walsh says customers want flavor adventure. Why not let them play mad scientist with each pie?
“Pizza is America’s favorite food, we thought it made sense to bring new flavor experiences to pizza,” she says.
Duprey says Pizza Hut needed to sprinkle in a little spice, but not drop in the whole spice bottle.
“Sales 101 says keep it simple,” he says. “A confused mind always says no.”
To keep out chaos behind the counter, Pizza Hut undertook its biggest training endeavor ever. Walsh is confident the plethora of new options won’t slow down service or delivery.
“We’ve been working on [rebranding] for a year,” Walsh says.
The new menu will be up in 6,000 Pizza Hut stores Wednesday.
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