Sunday, July 14, 2024

Pizza Hut Enhances Customer Experience with In-Store Digital Network “Hut TV”

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Pizza Hut, the largest player in the fast-food pizza category, is rolling out an innovative in-store digital video network called Hut TV to enhance customer engagement and improve the overall dining experience. The new video network has already been installed in 20 stores in Jacksonville, Fla., and four in Dallas, with plans for expansion into additional locations throughout 2010.

Pizza Hut aims to rejuvenate its brand and counteract stagnant same-store sales by transforming its dining experience and positioning itself as a go-to option for home meals. This includes new menu items like lasagna and WingStreet-branded wings, as well as a refreshed store design under the branding initiative, “The Hut.”

Engaging and Entertaining Customers

“Hut TV is a way to engage and entertain customers and make those who own our stores feel better about Pizza Hut,” said Bob Kraut, VP of Marketing for Pizza Hut. The digital network is designed to entertain customers, reduce perceived wait times, increase visit frequency, and promote menu specials.

Hut TV’s content is divided into three sections. The main section features entertainment such as trivia, games, or short segments from CBS-produced shows like Wheel of Fortune and Entertainment Tonight. A news ticker from CBS runs along the bottom of the screen, while the right-hand portion displays Pizza Hut’s menu, ingredient information, and special promotions. While the potential exists to sell ad space to suppliers, the current focus is purely on customer engagement.

Distinctive Approach in the Industry

Unlike other quick-service restaurants that have adopted digital networks using off-the-shelf solutions, Pizza Hut owns and controls Hut TV, ensuring full oversight of the network’s content. “Hut TV isn’t part of the company’s media or marketing budget but is considered an asset with its own resources and budget. It’s part of the facility,” Kraut explained. “The goodwill and promise it provides is an asset that is part of the entire customer experience.”

Strategic Development and Partnerships

The concept for Hut TV emerged from Mediaedge’s transition from a traditional media buying agency to a communications planning agency. Dave Sommer, Managing Partner for MEC Retail, highlighted the agency’s evolving role: “We’re moving out of our role of being just a media buying agency and becoming a planning agency by helping Pizza Hut figure out how to touch their various customer touch points.”

MEC Retail, formed after Mediaedgeacquired retail and shopper marketing consultancy Retail MediaLink, created a scalable solution for Pizza Hut. This allows for localized programming down to the individual store level. MEC Retail also crafted Hut TV’s strategic content mix and promotions, securing partnerships with CBS for content, YCD for technology, and 7ate9 for managing original and branded content.

Industry Trends and Competitors

The adoption of in-store digital networks is gaining traction across the quick-service restaurant sector. Competitors such as Denny’s have launched TheBITE network, offering syndicated video content through IndoorDIRECT, which services several restaurant chains including Wendy’s, Arby’s, and Hardee’s. Similarly, McDonald’s is expanding its digital network tests to 20 locations.

By investing in Hut TV, Pizza Hut is not only enhancing the customer experience but also setting itself apart in the competitive fast-food landscape. This strategic move underscores the company’s commitment to innovation and customer satisfaction.

About Pizza Hut

Founded in 1958, Pizza Hut is an iconic American restaurant chain and international franchise known for its Italian-American cuisine, including pizza and pasta, as well as side dishes and desserts. A subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc., Pizza Hut is the largest pizza chain in the world by number of locations.

About Mediaedge(MEC)

MEC is a leading media agency that provides comprehensive communications planning and media buying services. The agency has expanded its role to include strategic planning and customer touchpoint optimization, offering innovative solutions to major brands.

About YCD Multimedia

YCD Multimedia is a global provider of advanced digital signage solutions, offering businesses and organizations end-to-end solutions to improve communications with customers. YCD’s expertise lies in providing a full suite of services, including content management, distribution, and playback solutions. For more information, visit YCD.

About 7ate9 Entertainment

7ate9 Entertainment is a creative production company specializing in developing original and branded content for television and digital platforms. The company collaborates with major brands and networks to create engaging and innovative media experiences.

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