Pizza Chains Try Spicing Up an American Staple
Life + Money

Pizza Chains Try Spicing Up an American Staple

Some of the biggest fast-food pizza chains are introducing a host of new toppings and tastes in a fresh bid for new customers making the traditional pizza Italians invented centuries ago seem so last year.

Although National Pizza Day fell on Wednesday this year, Pizza Hut will celebrate its own pie day next week when it starts offering a brand new menu in an effort to hike sales.

Related: This is the Most Popular Sandwich In America

While the five new ingredients on the menu seem like rather classic pizza toppings – Peruvian cherry peppers, classic meatballs, fresh spinach, salami, and sliced banana peppers – the crust flavors and sauces are definitely outside the (pizza) box. They include ginger- and curry-flavored crust, as well as a honey Sriracha sauce and drizzle. 

The new Pizza Hut menu will be accompanied by a revamped online ordering tool.

None of this seems surprising given that 13 percent of the U.S. population consumes pizza on any given day, according to a recent study by the USDA’s Food Surveys Research Group. The majority of the pizza was eaten for dinner, while for kids the distribution was about equal for lunch and dinner.

“While Pizza Hut remains the world’s largest pizza company, with 15,000 restaurants across the globe, analysts say it has lost ground to its competitors and been outmaneuvered on digital ordering technology,” wrote The Washington Post on Tuesday.

Not to be outdone, Papa John’s has recently partnered with Fritos to create the Fritos Chili Pizza, which consists of beef, chili, Roma tomatoes, onions, cheddar, mozzarella and Fritos corn chips on Papa John’s pizza dough.

Related: The 10 Best Fast Food Restaurants in America

“It seemed like a no-brainer to collaborate with our beverage partner PepsiCo to bring its popular Fritos corn chips snack to our pizza and combine these traditional tailgating fall favorites—chili, cheese and added crunch—with Papa John’s signature fresh-dough crust,” said Bob Kraut, Papa John’s chief marketing officer, in a recent press release.

It remains to be seen whether these new menu items will raise the quality level of the food at these two fast-food chains and drive new business – or fizzle out spectacularly. As reported over the summer, both Papa John’s and especially Pizza Hut fared poorly in the magazine’s ranking of the best pizza chains.

Here’s Consumer Reports’ list of the 10 fast-food pizza restaurant chains, from best to worst:

  1. Papa Murphy’s Take ‘N’ Bake Pizza
  2. Jet’s Pizza
  3. Marco’s Pizza
  4. Round Table Pizza
  5. Papa John’s
  6. Little Caesars
  7. Domino’s Pizza
  8. Pizza Hut
  9. CiCi’s Pizza
  10. Sbarro

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