Can Pizza Hut Dominate The Wings Market?

There’s no doubt Pizza Hut has done a great job with capitalizing upon the American market, at least in terms of its specialty. However, not content to simply serve up Italian favorites by the slice, the company has begun offering deep-fried buffalo wings in many locations.

The leading pizza chain has put deep fryer machines in 5,000 of its restaurants, and started to announce the new offerings with specialized “WingStreet” branding. Reportedly, about 80 percent of Pizza Hut locations are now selling the new possibilities. They are breaded, then deep-fried and finally marinated in a choice of eight sauces.

Actually, this is not the first time Pizza Hut has offered chicken to customers. The effort actually began in 2003, but because the wings were not breaded and were also baked in an oven instead of fried, the general consensus was they weren’t tasty enough to make Pizza Hut a serious competitor. That was especially true when going up against restaurants that solely offered the fried fare. Also, these new options for Pizza Hut come as bone-in or boneless varieties.

Besides promoting the new menu options with specialized signage at restaurants, Pizza Hut has created special boxes that are used to carry the food once it is wrapped in foil and prepared for customers, particularly if people order it to be delivered.

Since the WingStreet sections are built into existing Pizza Hut locations and don’t operate separately, that business method seems like it could be beneficial if the pizza chain is trying to tempt the taste buds of people who aren’t fanatical about chicken, but are at least curious enough to see what the buzz is about. A person could theoretically plan on buying a popular pick, like a pepperoni pie, and eventually realize the meal might taste a whole lot better with chicken included.

Although it’s too soon to tell whether Pizza Hut can truly be competitive in this new sector of the market, something needs to be done to shift a downward trend. In the fourth quarter of last year, same store sales declined by four percent.

However, a change may be on the horizon. The chicken choices offered by Pizza Hut have already won several awards, such as when one of the sauces took second prize at the New York National Buffalo Wing Festival last year. They have also been favorably received by people who’ve tried them. History has shown us how it’s often necessary to evolve in accordance with market trends, and for one fast food restaurant, that seems to mean something more than just pizza