Pizza Hut is now The Hut

29 June 2009

United States of Generica: Pizza Hut Becomes “The Hut”

by Freddy Tran Nager, Founder of Atomic Tango + Pizza Addict…

What’s wrong with pizza? I love pizza! Yet fast food giant Pizza Hut is dropping the “pizza” from some of its store names and packaging. While still officially called Pizza Hut, the chain will refer to itself as “The Hut” to make it a more appealing place for teens to hang out. Hey, we’re not a fast food joint, we’re a clubhouse!

Apparently, parent company Yum Brands hasn’t been paying attention to the problems at Starbucks and other “third place” hangouts.

The other reason for the name change is that Pizza Hut has diversified its menu to include pasta and other dishes. To which I say, so? Taco Bell sells more than tacos — will Yum Brands rename it “The Bell”? (Just kidding, Yum Brands. Don’t do that.)

To further enhance The Hut, the chain is installing HDTV’s playing Hut TV. This in-house video channel will show customized features and segments from “Wheel of Fortune” and “Entertainment Tonight.” How appropriate: junk food for the mind.

Ultimately, I’m not sure what’s the point of having the young and the listless sit in your store all day. What’s to do there besides watch TV, eat, and sip endlessly from the all-you-can-drink soda fountain?

Ooh. Suddenly, I get a vision of something else that was nicknamed “The Hutt”…

"I can haz pizza?"

“I can haz pizza?”

You know, Yum Brands,  you’re right: hold the pizza — I’ll have a salad.

Related Post: United States of Generica 2: Radio Shack Becomes “The Shack”

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Freddy is the Founder & Creative Strategist of Atomic Tango. He also teaches graduate-level marketing communication courses at the University of Southern California (go Trojans!), shoots pool somewhat adequately, and herds cats. Freddy received his BA from Harvard and his MBA from USC.

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15 years ago

I’m not clear how this is going to work yet since all of the Pizza… sorry, all of “The Hut”‘s that I’ve seen in the LA area are Express pick-up and delivery stations only or are acting as a lamprey to a large entity (Taco Bell, Target, etc.). Where are the teens supposed to hang out and drink free soda? Is this a hip new standing room only hang out? Maybe other markets will be more adaptable to the new positioning.
Also, Wheel of Fortune? Really? Nothing says cool like Pat Sajak.


[…] Pizza Hut became “The Hut,” evoking images of Jabba — or worse. […]