Pizza Hut grows stale with American diners
Sales have fallen for seven straight quarters at the chain. 'We're obviously disappointed,' says the CEO of parent company Yum Brands.
"We're obviously disappointed with second-quarter results and particularly with the very poor performance in our U.S. business," David Novak, the chief executive of parent company Yum Brands (YUM), said of Pizza Hut during an earnings call in July. "We've had our ebbs and flows versus the competition over the years, and I can assure you we will be back," Novak told investors.
Pizza Hut remains the largest pizza chain in the U.S. by far, with more than 7,800 restaurants -- it continues to add more locations. But, says Darren Tristano, executive vice president at research firm Technomic, as quick-service competitors such as Papa John's, Domino's, and Little Caesars cut into Pizza Hut's U.S. business, new fast-casual, made-to-order pizza concepts are also expected to steal market share.
The chain is focused heavily on China, where it is developing Pizza Hut as a more upscale casual dining restaurant rather than as a delivery and takeout joint. It now has 1,134 sit-down locations in China -- where sales are increasing -- and just 215 delivery shops. In the U.S., only 14 percent of Pizza Hut's business is dine-in.
Pizza Hut spokesman Doug Terfehr says China has not been a distraction. "Both our domestic and international businesses are incredibly important to the health of our brand," he said in an e-mail. "As we've matured around the world, we've developed dedicated resources to handle that growth without wavering on our commitments to our business here."
Terfehr cited recent efforts, such as a dessert partnership with Hershey (HSY) that kicked off with an 8-inch cookie, the addition of equipment to all Pizza Hut restaurants to serve Wing Street chicken, and updating its website and app this spring as major turnaround efforts.
Bigger changes are on the way. Novak told investors that Pizza Hut will "launch a number of major initiatives in the United States to reignite sales beginning in the fourth quarter," including plans to boost millennial-targeted advertising and digital marketing and a greater focus on value.
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Also anybody that has shopped for any dairy products lately knows that they have risen greatly. The Pizza Hut pizzas have very little cheese on them compared to the way they came in the 70ies and through the 90ies! It is a shame really how they have cut back.
One more thing we have seen is that when you order an advertised special, say a 3 toping pizza, if you order double cheese or double another topping as part of the three toppings they charge you more. I do not get it. If you order Sausage, bacon, and pepperoni you are fine. But try to order Double sausage and mushroom and they up charge you. Practices like that get old fast.
Now, it's all we can afford .
Used to like pizza hut last time I got a pizza I had a coupon even with discount pizza was so bad I still felt cheated.
These corporate brainiacs are too out of touch with their customers to realize they make a terrible product,lately
frozen pizza is better than pizza hut.
Pizza Hut runs specials and when you buy the specials you noticed that the toppings are so skimmpy that you wind up with flavored dough. I can get better at Litte Ceasars for half the cost. Gone are the days that pizza's were overloaded with goodies at a decent price. I remember when a small pizza was as big as today's large pizza. Things change and not always for the better I guess.
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