Among the highlights of the transformation:
Pizza Hut, compared to pre-transformation, improved delivery times by 3 minutes.
In this year’s American Customer Satisfaction Index, which interviews more than 22,000 customers, Pizza Hut climbed 5 percent to a total score of 80—good for a three-way tie for third. Chick-fil-A (87) and Panera Bread (81) were ahead. Most impressive, though, the 5 percent jump was far and away the biggest improvement. No quick-service brand evan gained 2 percent, year-over-year.
“We still believe that Pizza Hut U.S. turnaround will be a slow build, but we're encouraged by the foundation that's being put in place and continue to make significant strides to improve the brand's position,” Creed said.
Pizza Hut has been wheeling on the marketing side, too. It left Droga5, IHOP’s agency, for GSD&M in June. The company promoted vice president of brand marketing and consumer insights Zipporah Allen to CMO the previous January. According to Kanta Media, Pizza Hut spent $226.9 million on measured marketing in the U.S. last year.
Creative opportunities abound for Pizza Hut, especially following the February announcement it was supplanting Papa John’s as the official sponsor of the NFL, a partnership that included the collective use of all 32 team marks. Pizza Hut also announced in July it was extending its multi-year partnership with the NCAA, giving it the rights to activate around all 90 NCAA championships each year, from basketball and hockey, to bowling, fencing, baseball, beach volleyball, and beyond.
Creed said, “the way we look at it, it will be sort of owning football Thursday through Mondays. And I think there’s nothing that brings America together more than football and pizza.”
In mid-May, Pizza Hut signed what it called a “landmark deal” with Telepizza Group, the largest non-U.S. pizza delivery company worldwide with more than 1,600 stores in 20 countries. The strategic deal and master franchise alliance sets a rapid growth chart across Latin America (excluding Brazil), the Caribbean, Spain, Portugal, and Switzerland. Specifically, Telepizza Group will target opening at least 1,300 new stores over the next 10 years, and 2,550 stores total over 20 years. The vast majority of the new store openings will be Pizza Hut, including all stores in Latin America and the Caribbean. This will double Pizza Hut’s footprint in the regions covered, give it the No. 1 position in the category across Latin America and the Caribbean in terms of unit count, “and confirm Pizza Hut’s position as the world’s largest pizza restaurant company,” Creed said.
“It will provide us with a foothold in key European markets, something which would have taken decades to achieve on our own as well as consolidate a majority of our Latin American markets under one master franchisee,” chief financial officer David Gibbs added in the call.