Exploring the Evolution of Pizza Hut: From Humble Beginnings to Global Dominance
Ever tasted the delicious pan pizza? Guess who invented it? — Pizza Hut. Not only for innovations, but Pizza Hut is a brand that people recognize globally for its exceptional taste and brand experience.
Pizza Hut is a global chain of pizza restaurants and international franchises founded in 1958 by Dan and Frank Carney in Wichita, Kansas. Apart from their signature pan pizza that has a thick and crispy crust, Pizza Hut serves a variety of other pizzas and Italian-American dishes including pasta, wings, salads, breadsticks, and desserts.
Pizza Hut is a successful pizzeria brand with over 19000 restaurants in more than 100 countries. It offers dine-in, take-out, and delivery at its restaurants.
Why did Pizza Hut become people’s favorite? How did pizza hut gain so much popularity? Did pizza hut really deliver a pizza in space!? I’ll answer all your questions regarding pizza hut in this blog. And to answer the last question…Yes! Pizza Hut did deliver its first pizza in space. Crazy! Isn’t it?
What is Pizza Hut?
Pizza Hut is a popular global chain restaurant founded in 1958 by Dan and Frank Carney. Decades ago the Carney brothers loaned $600 from their mother to start a pizzeria that now has become a world leader in serving quality pizzas.
Have you ever tasted a pan-crust pizza? If you have not you’re missing out on a lot! Pizza Crust has a thick and long crust with pizza toppings, sauce, and cheese stuffed inside giving you a mouthful of treat. Pizza Hut was the first ever restaurant to provide pan-crust pizza.
Apart from their signature pan pizza, Pizza Hut delivers other popular dishes like breadsticks, pasta, Wingstreet wings, and desserts.
With over 19000 restaurants in 100 countries, Pizza Hut has certainly marked a major of the pizza world territory.
History of Pizza Hut
Have you seen The Founder? A biographical drama film that shows the creation and success of Mc Donalds. If you’ve seen this movie, you’ll know that even food chains don’t become a success overnight. If Pizza Hut is a global producer of a maximum number of pizzas, It is because there is a whole dramatic story of blood & sweat and success and failures behind it.
The Rise of Pizza Hut
The Corney brothers took a loan of $600 from their mom and started a small pizza shop at the corner of Bluff and Kellogg in Wichita. They initiated great marketing tactics and had family and friends as their staff. The Carney brothers would give away free pizzas at night to attract more customers. I mean who would not get enticed by a brand that gives away free goods and serves mouth-watering pizzas?
Within the first six months, the Carney brothers opened a second store and in a y7 ear, they had 6 restaurants in their country. That’s when they began franchising and started gaining popularity from their hard-hitting marketing tactics.
In 1977, Pizza Hut merged with PepsiCo which increased their sale up to $436 million. After this Pizza Hut opened its headquarters in Wichita, which was worth $10 million.
The downfall of Pizza Hut
Pizza Hut was doing pretty well until the 1990s hit and the competition become what we call cut-throat. And you know what is important when a company is going downhill? — Effective decision making but Pizza Hut took some disastrously wrong strategic steps that resulted in a decrease in their profits and popularity.
Starting with their dine-in facility, people soon started ordering more than going all the way to a pizzeria for pizzas. Makes sense, Pizza is a delicacy that is supposed to be relished in the comfort of home, on the couch, in front of the TV. So, as a result, Pizza Hut saw only 10% (according to restaurant business) of sales from their dine-in facility. Eventually, they had to shut down many of their dine-in-focused franchises. They started opening up express locations to fix their focus on take-outs and delivery.
Pizza Hut was mostly popular for its innovations and unique pizzas like pan pizza. But they started lacking in their innovational aspects and even the quality started dropping. Of course, keeping the taste and quality the same in multiple pizza stores is not an easy nut to crack. The customers at Pizza Hut reported that the taste of their pizzas varied widely depending on different locations. That was not good news for a global chain company, to say the least.
Later, Pizza Hut started giving out discounts and promotions way too much which made it look like more of a cheaper brand than a premium pizza chain.
So, how did Pizza Hut manage to get back on its feet?
Eventually, a combination of creative marketing tactics, innovations, advanced technologies, and renewed menus and recipes helps Pizza Hut gain back respect in the market. As they should, Pizza Hut continuously invests in innovative technologies for their unhindered growth. To tackle their quality consistency globally, Pizza Hut came up with an omnichannel menu management system that maintains consistency in the efficiency of their various stores.
Pizza Hut Marketing
When it comes to Pizza Hut’s marketing, its advertisements & slogans are my favorites. Pizza Hut is very bold with its advertising tactics which makes it a noticeable brand among youth.
Their 1965 advertisement was called “Putt Putt to the Pizza Hut”. Their next slogans are pretty good too, look:
- Makin’ it great! (1987–1995)
- You’ll love the stuff we’re made of (1995 to 1999)
- Gather ‘round the good stuff (1999–2007)
- Now You’re Eating! (2008 to 2009)
- Your Favorites. Your Pizza Hut (2009 to 2012)
- Make it Great (2012 to 2016)
- No one out pizzas the hut (Now)
Pizza Hut has been cleverly humorous about its advertising campaigns. Their advertisements were even star-studded sometimes, like featuring Donald Trump and Jessica Simpson.
Their advertisement campaign “Pizza Head” was a big hit among the children. The campaign featured pizza with a face and talking personality. This was a relatable pizza head who would usually find himself in humorous predicaments.
In the 2000s, Pizza Hut came up with a couple more innovations in their menu items including creating P’Zone and Cheesy Bites pizza. The brand also joined the digital innovation right at its boom and launched an online ordering platform, social media, and mobile marketing.
So, with various innovations, a focus on consumer needs, and appealing marketing campaigns Pizza Hut managed to become a pizza store that serves over 2 million pizzas every day around the world.
The Bottom Line
Pizza Hut is exceptionally known for its distinctive taste and innovative dishes. Founded in 1958 by The Carney Brothers, the Pizza Hut Franchise now has over 19000 restaurants in over 100 countries. The history of pizza hut is evidence of its rollercoaster ride before becoming a global leader in the fast-food business.
With its unique and attention-grabbing marketing tactics, innovation, and evolving menus; Pizza Hut has maintained a firm step in the market. Today, Pizza Hut continues to remain a beloved brand for pizza lovers globally.