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POWER MOVES: Pizza Hut

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The first formal dine-in outlet opened in Juhu, Mumbai, in July 2008, followed by a second one in Panchkula (near Chandigarh). The pizza chain hasn’t looked back since then.

We should have perhaps amended that last sentence to read the restaurant chain hasn’t looked back: Check out your neighbourhood Pizza Hut joint for proof. On offer will be a wide menu including skewers, shakes, mojitos, pastas, gelatos, cheesecakes… you name it. All that over and above its primary offering, its raison d’etre, the pizza. A couple of months back, the company introduced wine and beer in a few stores (in Delhi and Bangalore) on an experimental basis. Now it is set to extend the service nationwide.

Pizza Hut’s new ad sums up the change that is taking place under its roof. The ad begins with four friends dressed in early 30’s costumes landing up at a Pizza Hut outlet. The friend who was at the wheel moves on to park the car, asking the others to order their ‘usual’. The group saunters in and the waiter comes over and asks them to try the new range. The group is surprised to see the variety on offer. As they try the new skewers, shakes, mojitos, pastas, gelatos, cheesecake, they are transformed into cool dudes. The film ends with the fourth friend, still donning the 30’s outfit, entering Pizza Hut and being unable to recognise his buddies. The ad captures the essence of Pizza Hut — a fun place to hang out with your friends.

“The Indian palette has evolved over the years and people have accepted western influences in the food segment. To fulfill the demands of the new consumer, we have introduced a diversified menu,” says Sunay Bhasin, head, marketing, Pizza Hut, a subsidiary of Yum! Brands Inc., (the world’s largest restaurant company). “Through the new ad we wanted to exaggerate the fact that people have this habit of ordering the same things over and over again — their ‘regular’,” says Anupama Ramaswamy, creative director, JWT, the agency on the account. “The creative leap was to say such consumers are actually stuck in time.”

Globally, Pizza Hut is split into different restaurant formats — the original family-style dine-in restaurants; the store front delivery and carry-out locations; and hybrid outlets that offer carry-out, delivery and dine-in options.

“The transition from quick service restaurant to casual dine-in is a well-timed extension,” says Anand Ramanathan, an analyst with KPMG. “The Indian consumer is used to a wide choice in any restaurant; this move will fill that gap.”

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