- Pizza Hut is one of the largest pizza chains on Earth.
- The chain started in Kansas with just $US600.
- It now has over 16,000 individual stores worldwide including in Tanzania, Russia, and Canada.
Whether you like it topped with sardines, corned beef, curry or just plain cheese, chances are that you’ve dug into a Pizza Hut pizza. Marked by the iconic red roof, the chain opened in Kansas in the 1950s and has since expanded as far as Armenia, Russia, and Iceland.
It may be one of the largest pizza chains on Earth, but how much do you really know about it?
Read below for 19 facts about Pizza Hut you probably didn’t know before.
The pizza chain was started with just $US600.
Kansas-born brothers Dan and Frank Carney founded Pizza Hut in Wichita, Kansas in 1958. Still in college at the time, they opened the restaurant with $US600 borrowed from their mother.
The name “Pizza Hut” just happened to fit on the sign.
The story behind Pizza Hut’s name isn’t very complicated. The sign outside the original building only had room for eight letters, so the founding brothers simply created a title that fit.
Mikhail Gorbachev had a political campaign set in a Pizza Hut.
Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev released a political television ad set in a Pizza Hut, reported CNN. In the commercial, which aired internationally, restaurant-goers praise Gorbachev for bringing Pizza Hut to his country.
They once delivered a pizza to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro.
In an incredible PR stunt, Pizza Hut delivery men hiked six hours to bring a pie to the highest point in Africa – the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, reported CNN.
They set a record for the highest-altitude pizza delivery on earth.
The original Pizza Hut building got picked up and moved.
The 500-square-foot building that housed the original Pizza Hut got picked up and moved from its original location, reported the Witchita Eagle. It now sits on the Wichita State University campus in Kansas, where it will be transformed into a museum filled with Pizza Hut history, memorabilia, and fun facts.
Former First Lady Barbara Bush was the first to order Pizza Hut to the White House.
In 1989, former First Lady Barbara Bush ordered the first Pizza Hut delivery to the White House in Washington, DC. She was hosting 200 children at a charity event and needed refreshments.
Pizza Hut has a charity aimed at encouraging kids to read.
Pizza Hut introduced the BOOK IT! program in 1984 and it reaches more than 14 million students annually. The program aims to encourage reading in children in schools nationwide.
They used to have a mascot called Pizza Pete.
In the early days of Pizza Hut, the chain had a mascot named Pizza Pete. He was eventually replaced by the iconic red roof that has been the brand’s symbol since the 1970s.
Donald Trump saved the Hut’s stuffed-crust pizzas.
When Pizza Hut first released their stuffed-crust pizzas, it seemed as if the idea would be a complete (and expensive) flop. However, a commercial starring Donald Trump and ex-wife Ivana convinced Americans to eat pizza crust-first. The ad earned Pizza Hut an additional $US30 million in revenue in its first year.
Pizza Hut tried to laser their logo onto the moon.
In 1999, Pizza Hut execs expressed interest in having the brand’s logo lasered into the face of the moon. The plan only failed because the logo would have had to be the size of Texas in order to be visible from space, reported the New York Times.
Pizza Hut is available in over 100 countries.
Pizza Hut has over 16,000 individual stores worldwide, baking pies in places like Mongolia, Finland, and Armenia. The 100th country to get Pizza Hut was Tanzania in 2016. The first international Pizza Hut opened in Canada in 1968.
They once gave away gold-covered pizzas during the Super Bowl.
In 2016, Pizza Hut gave away gold-covered pizzas to a few lucky fans in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Super Bowl, reported CNBC. Along with the special pie, the chain also gifted winners with $US100 Pizza Hut Gold Cards.
Pizza Hut hosts a National Pizza Championship.
Each year, Pizza Hut hosts a National Pizza Championship in which Pizza Hut chefs from across the US compete in five rounds to see who can create the most delicious pizza.
Pizza Hut has delivered a pizza to space.
In 2001, Pizza Hut became the first chain to deliver a pizza to space. Russian astronaut Yuri Usachov received his pie via a resupply rocket while onboard the International Space Station. The stunt cost the Hut over a million dollars.
A blog exists dedicated to repurposed Pizza Hut buildings.
Pizza Hut superfan Mike Neilson runs Used to Be A Pizza Hut, a blog dedicated to the transformations of classic red roof Pizza Hut buildings.
You can still view an early training video online.
Looking to get ahead of the game before your first day of work? A 17-minute-long Pizza Hut training video from 1988 is available on Youtube.
The first Russian Pizza Hut fans liked sardines and tuna on their pies.
The first Pizza Hut in Russia opened in Moscow in 1990.
At the time, Russian customers’ favourite pizza was the Moskva, which came topped with sardines, tuna, mackerel, salmon, and onion. The Moscow branch quickly became the most popular, serving the highest volume of pizzas out of all of Pizza Hut’s locations.
For a while, Pizza Hut had a fragrance line.
For a limited time, the Canadian branch of Pizza Hut offered pizza-scented perfume. The company said fans should expect the fragrance to be “like dough with a little bit of seasoning added.” In the end, only 100 lucky fans got the opportunity to try it out for themselves.
Pizza Hut offered the first online delivery service.
In 1994, Pizza Hut launched online ordering, making it the first pizza company to offer the service (and save the world from awkward phone conversations in doing so).
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