Whenever one thinks or craves for fast-food, the sights are very typical. Large portions of dependable and predictable taste. No one has dared challenge the notion, that is until Pizza Hut’s Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Carrie Walsh decided that it is time to ditch the image that was so painstakingly developed over the decades.
One of YUM Brands’ most effective and profitable chains, Pizza Hut had successfully built a reputation of offering some of the most mouth-watering pizzas. From the stuffed-crust pizza to the outlandish P’zone to last year’s pizza with 16 cheese pockets, Pizza Hut has always wowed it patrons with large servings that had multiple toppings which suited a wide variety of taste buds.
But Walsh now thinks it is time the chain must enter a new era of more restrained and tasteful kind of innovation. The brand is shedding its junk food image by offering some premium offerings like hand-tossed crust pizza with equally premium ingredients like fresh garlic and parmesan, reported Ad Age.
Apparently, Walsh is merely responding to research which conclusively found that consumers are increasingly seeking food perceived as higher quality and more gourmet with unconventional flavor combinations. Accordingly, Pizza Hut has been coming up with interesting variations that had, “lighter, airier crust, cheese blended with five Italian flavors.” Lately, Pizza Hut has come-up with more millennial-friendly flavors, including garlic-parmesan pizzas which is a five-cheese and a chicken-bacon-tomato variety, reported Business Insider.
A few weeks ago, The Inquisitr had reported how the new CEO plans to reinvent the company. Frankly, Pizza Hut hasn’t been doing that well. In the first quarter this year, the chain’s US same-store sales were down 5 percent. This has worried the upper management extensively. The franchisee had accordingly planned to appeal to cost-conscious customers.
However, this step of introducing gourmet ingredients appears to be in direct contrast with its most loyal customer base which is cost-conscious. But, Ms. Walsh seems confident and wants to play to the brand’s strengths, “It’s about building on what has made this brand successful. It’s an innovator, it’s pop culture. And it’s now putting our consumers at the front” she said.
Perhaps Pizza Hut is looking at the wrong section of their business. Walsh herself accepted that as many as 40% of orders are placed by means other than phone calls. Moreover, about half the digital orders have originated from mobile through the Pizza Hut app. If that’s not all, Pizza Hut recently inked a deal with Hulu that will allow customers to order directly from within an ad rather than jump to a separate web page.
Such tech-inspired innovations could surely be the key to make it easier to buy a pizza. Should Pizza Hut focus on adding fancy ingredients instead?
[Image Credit | Pizza Hut]