Last December, Pizza Hut unveiled its plan to switch up the pizza-and-beer game. While always a hit pairing, the two didn’t exactly go hand-in-hand with the counter-service and delivery model. The YUM! Brands chain’s plan to change that: beer delivery, which started in late 2017 in Phoenix, Arizona.
The pilot is now ready for expansion. Pizza Hut announced Tuesday that it is bringing beer delivery to nearly 100 stores across Arizona and California in May. The beer will arrive in a custom cooler designed to deliver the beverages cold.
“Pizza Hut has and always will be focused on serving customers a great pizza experience. And nothing complements an oven-hot pizza like an ice-cold beer,” said Pizza Hut’s chief marketing officer Zipporah Allen in a statement. “In addition to our extensive delivery network, many Pizza Hut restaurants are already licensed to serve and distribute beer, without third-party services, additional fees, or extended wait times. Expanding the pilot program is a natural way for Pizza Hut to get our customers the perfect pizza and beer combo they’re craving, delivered right to their doors.”
Many of Pizza Hut’s locations already offer beer and wine, and are licensed to serve and distribute.
The third-party hurdle is one that keeps many chains from even considering beer delivery. In some other cases, like TGI Fridays for example, guests had to order through the restaurant, which then linked with a third-party delivery service. Lash (in TGI Fridays case) then drove to a local liquor store partner, picked up the bottles, and then went to the restaurant before heading out to guests.
In 2016, Pizza Hut debuted several redesigned restaurants in Texas. These units, highlighted by wraparound windows, outdoor seating, and drive thrus, were also equipped to serve beer and wine. And that was just the start of a remodel program that targets roughly 700 U.S. stores per year through 2022.
For the new pilot, free delivery will be available in participating Arizona markets with the purchase of select six packs of beer. In partnership with MillerCoors, the delivery fee will be waived for customers who include a six-pack of Coors Light, Blue Moon, or Miller High Life in any Pizza Hut order online.
Qualifying orders must meet delivery minimum requirements and be placed online, or through Pizza Hut’s mobile app.
“Offering beer delivery has enabled us to provide a service to our customers that others cannot, which has proven to be successful during the first few months of the pilot,” Mark Peterson, owner of HOT Pizza, a Pizza Hut franchisee in Arizona, said in a release. “As a Pizza Hut franchisee I’m always looking for ways to innovate my business, and beer delivery is a great way for us to deliver an even better experience for our customer.”
In Arizona, Pizza Hut now offers beer delivery at participating restaurants in Phoenix, Tucson, Glendale, Prescott, Winslow, and more. In California, beer delivery is available at participating restaurants in Los Angeles, Bakersfield, Fresno, Riverside, Sacramento, Santa Barbara, and Santa Clara, among others; and rolling out soon to additional locations, including Anaheim, Huntington Beach, and Redding this month.
Same-store sales were up 1 percent at Pizza Hut in the first quarter.