In the book Selling Eating, one of my main ideas is that a restaurant doesn’t just exist randomly—it exists because some entrepreneur identified a problem, which presented an opportunity.
Sometimes restaurants that have been around awhile lose their way somehow. For them, identifying a problem to solve is a good way to get “back on track.”
Their new problem might differ from the original—for example, filth is less of a problem these days, really, so it’s less necessary for a restaurant to display nothing except shiny, easily disinfected surfaces and super-bright lighting. And a restaurant that used to make claims to cleanliness should have by now shifted to solving a different problem.
Pizza Hut is an older chain. It fights to remain relevant. So this seems like a logical move, on its face.
Sure: talk about how far from the same-old same-old your new recipes are. That fights the negative impression that Pizza Hut is coasting on former glory.
Also fighting that impression: updating the way we order pizza to a futuristic digital method at the tables. Or using eye-tracking software to let people order subconsciously. Or playing with pop culture by making a mockery of the nation’s town hall presidential debate.
I’m afraid the final impression is that Pizza Hut is unsure of who it is.
Are they smart alecks or digital whiz kids? Sincere pizza chefs, or hip/flip culture-clashers who irritate Olde World Italian Residents?
What problem are they trying to solve? All of them.
So I hereby clarify what I wrote in Selling Eating: what ONE, MAIN problem does your restaurant solve?