To attract younger diners, Pizza Hut has a new strategy: The quick-service restaurant (QSR) chain has partnered with the NCAA to seek an audience of 21-year-olds, and has also brought beer delivery into its lineup. The idea is to reach consumers in segments such as Gen Z, Bloomberg reported.
“Here’s our opportunity to get re-engaged at a college level,” Chief Brand Officer Marianne Radley told Bloomberg. Pizza and beer go well together, and testing has seen positive results. And Radley added that “by kickoff of NFL, we’ll have it in considerably more stores.”
Yum! Brands has stepped up its focus on Pizza Hut since the company spun off its business in China in 2016. Following that time, the QSR has bolstered its delivery efforts and taken the NFL sponsorship that had once been Papa John’s. The efforts to sell beer and pepperoni could help Pizza Hut compete with Domino’s Pizza, Inc. – and Papa John’s.
The news comes as Yum! Brands’ Pizza Hut was bringing beer delivery to approximately 100 of its restaurants in California and Arizona, as was reported in May. The restaurant chain had begun testing the service in Phoenix back in December, Reuters had reported. The new rollout was to include cities such as Tucson, Prescott and Winslow in Arizona, and Los Angeles, Bakersfield, Sacramento and Santa Barbara in California. At that time, over 1,700 Pizza Hut locations in the U.S. had liquor licenses.
As Pizza Hut Chief Marketing Officer Zipporah Allen told Reuters, “Many Pizza Hut restaurants are already licensed to serve and distribute beer, without third-party services, additional fees or extended wait times.”
In order to deliver beer, Pizza Hut drivers must be at least 21 years old and have training in liquor laws. In addition, the drivers will be able to cancel a beer order if customers can’t verify their ages.
The news also comes as fast food chains have increased their appetite for delivery. McDonald’s, for example, has rolled out delivery to 5,000 of its approximately 14,000 U.S. stores. And customers typically spend more when they order delivery, according to McDonald’s.