The concepts, part of the company's continued push for innovation in all facets of its business, feature an all-new "pizza by the slice" experience with slices cut from an 18-inch pizza. The pizza by the slice products also include new chef-inspired recipes alongside traditional favorites like cheese or pepperoni, all designed to match consumers desiring more on-the-go options from Pizza Hut.
"As the category leader, it's our responsibility and obligation to drive our business forward to meet and exceed the needs of our consumers, and we feel these new assets are one of the many ways we're doing just that," said Carrie Walsh, chief marketing officer, Pizza Hut. "The dine-in experience is a very important part of our business, and these incredibly fresh, beautiful new locations further advance our desire to provide the best experience possible for our customers. Plus, specifically in the Northeast where by the slice is more prevalent, this concept enables us to enter a competitive environment like that with a very competitive product that we think consumers will love."
Each concept has unique components driven by market behavior and dining style. The location in York, NE will seat 80-plus, highlighting the eat-in experience, while the location in Pawtucket will have a smaller seating area, accommodating roughly 30 spots. The Pawtucket location is expected to primarily be a delivery and carryout option, with the pizza by the slice experience augmenting business during lunch hours and for busy, on-the-go consumers. Both locations will offer the pizza by the slice "bar."
The location in York will include sauteed pasta and made to order salad stations to complement the Pizza Hut core favorites like Stuffed Crust and Pan pizza. Each restaurant will include new ingredients as well, offering greater combination variety.
The new, fast-casual concepts include digital menu boards, deck ovens and an open seating environment, all twists on the company's traditional dine-in stores. Nearly half of all Pizza Hut stores in the U.S. include dine-in and the company benefited from 115 net openings in 2013.
"We believe these concepts have broad appeal, and we're bullish on our plans to quickly expand them to additional locations," said Al Litchenburg, chief development officer, Pizza Hut. "We are a company driven to innovate and give customers what they want and a vibrant store experience is atop that list."
Earlier this month, Pizza Hut celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the first-ever online purchase, which was a large pepperoni, mushroom and extra cheese pizza from Pizza Hut. The company has continued to innovate in digital offering customers more ordering access points than any other national pizza chain.
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