Pizza Hut Defeated By Salad Towers In China: Closed Buffets In Most Branches [Video]

There are now more than 760 Pizza Huts across China.

When they decided to enter the Chinese market, it was understood that they would have to offer a different selection of food than their other restaurants in the West.

So they re-branded fast food in China as “delicious and safe, high quality and fast, nutritious and balanced, healthy living, and rooted in China.” For example, Pizza Hut’s Chinese name, “Bi Sheng Ke,” means “Must Succeed Customer” in Chinese. The name resonates well with Chinese, as it implies success and good fortune.

A major element in this strategy was the introduction of large salad buffets to emphasize the healthy food aspect; later they announced the removal of these buffets as part of a menu revamp. The real reason was that their customers were exploiting the one-trip rule.

Because customers in China were told they could only have one trip to fill a single plate at the salad bar, they devised a way to make that trip worthwhile. They did this by creating incredible towers of salad on the small plate.

The practice, known as salad stacking, soon became a fad as stackers shared pictures of their efforts on the Internet. Salad engineers would exchange tips online, such as starting off their creations with a strong base of stiff vegetables like carrots, cucumbers, and croutons.

When people heard of the decision to remove the salad bars, it only encouraged them to make even more salad towers before they lost their chance. Not all China’s Pizza Hut salad bars have been removed; some Beijing branches still have them.

But it no longer matters. Salad stacking has just gone out of fashion.