Pizza Hut to battle gourmet market with ambitious franchise plans

Pizza Hut has announced a plan to open 11 new stores before Christmas, having already opened 11 this year, as mass-market pizza franchises fight back against the rise of gourmet pizza bars.


In the next month, Pizza Hut plans to open four new stores, taking its total number of stores in Australia and New Zealand to 367.


The new stores will open in Deer Park (Victoria), Everton Park (Queensland), Tarneit (Victoria) and Emu Plains (NSW).


The company recently opened stores in Frankston (Victoria), the Perth CBD and Wagga Wagga (NSW).


With more than 13,000 restaurants throughout the world, Pizza Hut is the world’s largest pizza restaurant company. It is a subsidiary of Yum! Brands.


According to Andy Masood, head of development and supply chain, Pizza Hut is determined to continue expanding and growing its presence within the Australian market.


“This year alone, Pizza Hut has opened 11 stores with 11 more planned for the year,” Masood says.


The new Pizza Hut stores are owned by first-time franchisees, which, according to Masood, is an exciting prospect.


“Our aim is to continue building great franchise partnerships and developing the Pizza Hut brand to ensure our franchise model remains a thriving, viable and rewarding one,” Masood says.


The new stores will employ approximately 15 staff each, with franchisees expected to be heavily involved in the day-to-day activities.


“Our approach when we look for the right successful franchisee is mainly around the quality of the operator,” Masood says.


“So a couple of key things we look for are a strong desire to be an owner-operator, and a belief in the brand.”


“Another one of the key elements for success is their entrepreneurial spirit – their spirit and their drive.”


Masood says while experience in the sector isn’t necessary, all franchisees must have an unwavering commitment to customer service and a clearly defined business plan.


Steve Mulloy, who is scheduled to open the Everton Park store this month, said in a statement the Pizza Hut brand is “heading in the right direction” and is “doing a lot of things right”.


Earlier this year, Pizza Hut partnered with group buying site LivingSocial to offer customers $2 pizzas, with Pizza Hut describing LivingSocial as “a great vehicle” to attract new customers.


The move comes amid the rise of gourmet pizza offerings such as Crust Gourmet Pizza, which is gaining market share both here and overseas.


However, Pizza Hut isn’t the only mass-market pizza chain attempting to reinvent itself.


Domino’s Pizza recently launched a new logo, cutting the word “pizza” from the design as part of the company’s attempt to convey a more corporate image.


According to Domino’s chief executive Don Meij, the new logo is cleaner, stronger and more modern than the previous design.


“Our business, particularly here in Australia, has evolved significantly over the years from new store designs to better quality ingredients and greater menu choices,” Meij told Franchising.


“It was time to improve the one thing that signifies our brand – by creating a new clean, crisp and strong brand logo that reflects our new directions.”


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