Pizza Hut Could Be An Unlikely Competitor To Chipotle

Pizzas are the new burritos.

Dozens of build-your-own pizza chains are expanding across America. Chipotle has quietly built Pizzeria Locale, a modern pizza restaurant that gives customers fresh, personalised pies in 90 seconds.

But Chipotle could face an unlikely competitor in Pizza Hut, writes Chris Nichols at Yahoo! Finance.

Nichols argues that Pizza Hut, which has 15,000 locations around the world, has everything it needs to transition into a trendy craft pizza chain.

He says that while it’s unlikely Pizza Hut would transform its existing locations, the industry giant has the financial means to create its own fast-casual restaurant or invest in an up-and-coming chain like Blaze Pizza or Pizza Rev, Nichols said.

Pizzeria locale chipotle denverTwitter/@PizzeriaLocaleChipotle’s Pizzeria Locale has successfully expanded into Colorado.

“Craft stores are attempting to capitalise on perceived consumer boredom by going beyond everyday toppings such as pepperoni, offering various crust flavours, multiple sauces, choice of cheeses and make-as-you-go lines, doing perhaps for pizza what Chipotle did for burritos,” he writes.

While sales at traditional fast food chains are declining, fast casual restaurants like Chipotle and Panera Bread are thriving. Sales at Pizza Hut declined 2% last year.

Pizza Hut’s parent company, Yum! Brands, has recently rolled out upscale taco, fried chicken, and banh mi concepts.

It’s very plausible that pizza could be the company’s next investment, Nichols says.

UBS fast casual vs. casual diningUBSGrowth of fast-casual chains like Chipotle is outpacing traditional restaurants.

“With a fast-casual pizzeria, even if Pizza Hut’s main-store share ebbs, it would be picking up uniqueness, important for today’s ‘tired of the same’ customer, as well as new revenue,” he writes.

For now, Pizza Hut is focusing on marketing to millennials and testing lower-calorie versions of its pizza.

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