For These Pizzas, the Missing Ingredient is Convenience, CEO Says

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The new head of Pizza Hut's parent company says speed and ease now matter more than food quality in the struggling chain's bid to compete.

On the surface, Pizza Hut and car-hailing service Uber don’t seem to have much in common. But Greg Creed — CEO of Pizza Hut’s parent company Yum! Brands — wants to change that.

Creed says the key to boosting sales and re-energizing the struggling pizza chain is for it to become more like Uber.

“If you think about the Uber experience, it’s easy to use, it’s easy to pay, it’s very easy to track,” Creed said in a phone interview with The Associated Press.

He said that while producing better quality food was once the best way to beat the competition, times have changed. “Easy” beats “better” now, Creed explained at the company’s recent investor day. He said Pizza Hut should shift its focus from serving better food than rival chains to being more convenient for consumers.

Creed, who took the helm at Yum earlier this year, said one area Pizza Hut can improve is its delivery time, noting that it takes about 2 minutes longer to deliver its food than the competition.

Pizza Hut revamped its menu last year, adding a variety of new crusts, flavor drizzles and toppings. But the changes failed to generate the excitement and boost in sales it anticipated.

In fact, sales at established Pizza Hut restaurants dropped 3 percent last year. That was after a 2 percent dip in 2013.

Meanwhile, rival Domino’s saw a 7.5 percent increase in sales in 2014. Domino’s credits the boost to the convenience of its online ordering and mobile app, Consumerist reports.

Although Creed remains tight-lipped about how Pizza Hut will implement the new “easy” beats “better” plan, he told investors that the pizza chain does have a strategy in place.

Yum! Brands also owns KFC and Taco Bell.

Do you think convenience trumps quality when it comes to food? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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