Pizza Hut parent company Yum! Brands will tweak its marketing strategy for the brand to strike a balance between appealing to millennials and mainstream consumers as it reported flat sales in the first quarter.
Speaking on a call with investors chief executive of Yum! Brands Greg Creed admitted that marketing for Pizza Hut hadn’t been effective enough, and that the fast-food brand has struggled to balance its efforts to target different age groups.
“Our results have admittedly been soft and worse yet we’re being outperformed by the competition,” he said. “As you know we recently launched a new pizza platform in the US where over half the division’s profits are generated. This new platform gives our customers unparalleled variety with exciting new toppings, crusts and flavours.
“Unfortunately we haven’t been as effective as we’ve liked with our marketing and need to balance its appeal to millennials with mainstream pizza customers. We intend to do this going forward while working with our franchisees to bring more competitive value to the market.”
Despite a disappointing performance, Pizza Hut is expanding fairly rapidly having opened 35 new international restaurants in 20 countries in the first quarter. This included 16 units in emerging markets, with almost all (94 per cent) opened by franchisees.
Creed said Yum Brands! is also making the “needed investments” in digital across all Pizza Hut markets. “We have a firm grasp on what needs to improve and are taking the necessary actions globally to drive better performance,” he said.
Yum! Brands also owns and operates KFC and Taco Bell and reported a 3.7 per cent dip in revenue to $362m compared to $399m in the same quarter last year. Sales grew 4 per cent.