Pizza Hut spices up menu with sriracha, ginger, curry
The new menu includes sriracha, ginger and curry-flavored pizza crusts, with items such as 'Hot and Twisted' and 'Cock-A-Doodle Bacon,' and 'Skinny' 250-calorie per slice pies. Photo: Bloomberg
Los Angeles: Pizza Hut will serve pizzas with a twist in its biggest-ever menu makeover, apparently aimed at wooing 18- to 34-year-old diners, after two years of sagging sales.
The changes, to be unveiled in US outlets on 19 November, will go up against customized pizzas with upscale toppings offered by Blaze Pizza, Pie Five, Live Basil and other 'build your own' chains that aim to be the Chipotle Mexican Grill of pizza chains.
'Our newest changes are the most significant we've made in our history,' said David Gibbs, who was named Pizza Hut global chief executive last week, in a statement.
The new menu includes sriracha, ginger and curry-flavoured pizza crusts, with items such as 'Hot and Twisted' and 'Cock-A-Doodle Bacon,' and 'Skinny' 250-calorie per slice pies.
The 56-year-old chain will update its mobile ordering as well as its logo, delivery boxes and staff uniforms in the revamp. Sixty per cent of its roughly 13,400 units are in the US.
'In today's market, you have to take risks,' said Darren Tristano, executive vice president at restaurant consulting firm Technomic. Still, he added, 'it is quite a bit of change in a short period of time.'
The changes appear to take direct aim at so-called Millennial diners, aged 18 to 34, who according to NPD Group spent $95 billion on food service meals and snacks in the US in the year ending June 2014.
Pizza Hut's challenge is to lure Millennials, who are used to customizing their meals at chains like Chipotle and Subway, without alienating the older diners who are its main customers, Tristano said.
Plano, Texas-based Pizza Hut, which competes with delivery chains such as Domino's Pizza and Papa John's International, will continue selling familiar pizzas such as the Meat Lover's, Stuffed Crust and Supreme.
Domino's menu revamp started about five years ago. It admitted that its pizza fared poorly in taste tests and invited diners to try its new and improved recipe. The strategy worked. Since then, the chain has added pasta and other dishes.
It will be at least six months before the verdict comes back on Pizza Hut's changes, Tristano said.
Chipotle is backing a chain called Pizzeria Locale. Reuters