Pizza Hut’s attempt to boost sales with premium topped pizzas may not be paying off.
Last week, Pizza Hut’s largest franchisee, NPC International, reported a 3.5 percent decline in sales compared to the same period last year, reports Entrepreneur.
With unusual crusts like pretzel bread, trendy sauce offerings like Sriracha, healthier ingredients and new modern packaging, Pizza Hut’s rebranded “Flavor of Now” positioning is being cited by NPC International as “partially responsible for decline.”
"While we continue to see a significant increase in our digital business mix, the new positioning is not yet yielding the improved sales results that we were anticipating," Jim Schwartz, CEO of NPC, said in a statement. "We believe that the transition to the 'Flavor of Now' positioning provides a diverse flavor platform that better connects with millennials and provides the brand a leveragable point of differentiation. However, there is much work to be done to bring more awareness of the 'Flavor of Now.'"
NPC International operates over 1,200 Pizza Hut locations in 28 states—about 20 percent of all the chain's restaurants in the U.S. The company also operates 143 Wendy’s locations.
But NPC is not alone in reporting declining Pizza Hut revenue. Yum Brands, Pizza Hut’s parent company, reported overall same-store sales were down 1 percent for the full year.
“While the initial relaunch of the Pizza Hut brand in the U.S. did not deliver the sales lift we expected, consumers have responded positively to the new menu and we intend to leverage this more effectively going forward,” Greg Creed, Yum Brand’s CEO stated, acknowledging that Pizza Hut’s new positioning has not boosted revenue.
The new campaign may have created a buzz on social media, consumers may not be biting off more premium toppings than they can chew.