Pizza Hut

Jan 14, 2022 | Report Announcements

Pizza Hut enjoys substantial scale and strong brand equity as the 2nd largest national player in the $1B+ chain pizza segment by domestic system sales. An ongoing repositioning towards a modern delivery concept includes a conversion of dine-in assets to smaller stores optimized for digital & delivery which is better suited to a younger, more tech savvy demo. Considerable progress is represented by the rollout of its “Hut Lane” drive-thru model which is unique and helps maximize the potential of older “Red Roof” dine-in restaurants in good markets. The brand is distinguished by its Original Pan Pizza & its Stuffed Crust option and its menu benefits from product quality initiatives over the last several years. Repositioning also includes an emphasis on product innovation as evidenced by recent LTOs (Detroit-Style & The Edge) which reinforces a return to its heritage of making special pizzas customers can only get at Pizza Hut. While significant COGs outperformance suggests the potential for Pizza Hut to further improve its value equation, the brand’s reluctance to embrace lower price points reflects a bi-furcated system marked by material cost structure differences between high-wage & low-wage markets and different cost structures for its dine-in & Delco assets. The chain must also play catch-up in digital, an effort hampered by the system’s significant mix of rural dine-in locations. These points are important as the brand must address a -14% decline in domestic market share among $1B+ pizza chains from 2011 to 2020. In any case, it is notable that the chain’s current unit economics are competitive and continue to improve as dine-in assets are replaced with Delcos. In conclusion, while Pizza Hut’s positioning is improving, the brand must still address value in a tough economic environment while it simultaneously completes its asset conversion in order to finish its evolution into a relevant competitor in the very challenging pizza segment.

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