The first restaurant to be overhauled was one of Pizza Hut’s key outlets at Crawley Leisure Park which re-opens today (18 October). All other sites will be completed by the end of 2014, with the group claiming it has now set ‘the benchmark in restaurant design and hospitality standards’ for the casual dining industry.
“The re-opening of our Crawley restaurant marks the start of the largest investment programme we have ever undertaken in the UK and is reflective of our ambition to strengthen our leading position in the casual dining marketplace,” said Pizza Hut’s managing director Jens Hofma.
“Pizza Hut Restaurants is a durable concept that has stood the test of time and this investment programme is demonstrative of our underlying values: delicious and innovative food at affordable prices, warm and genuine service, and an informal environment where everyone feels welcome – whether it’s a family dinner or a quick working lunch.”
The new design will see the interior ceilings of each refurbished restaurant removed (where possible), along with different lighting schemes and bolder external facades.
All of the brand’s signature offerings such as the Ice Cream Factory, Salad Station and Buffet, put centre stage, while skilled chefs will be brought out of the kitchen with a theatrical front-of-house dough-stretching and topping station.
A new, central preparation station will showcase a range of desserts including warm cookie dough, a waffle machine, speciality drinks, and a self-service soft drinks hub allowing guests to refill drinks at their leisure.
Not just pizza
Meanwhile, the brand new Pizza Hut menu will include the introduction of ribs, wings and fries, which Hofma believes will help the business appeal to a wider range of customer tastes.
“We are not just in the business of selling pizzas, but rather putting the guest experience at the heart of everything we do, which is why we are re-engineering the business with a renewed focus, improving staff training and overhauling the look and feel of our estate with these new concepts.
“Our guests love the basics of what we do and how dining in our restaurants makes them feel, which is why we are using this investment to bring vibrancy to the recognisable, memorable experiences that truly define the Pizza Hut Restaurants brand. We are aiming to deliver a fun and convenient experience for all our guests – be they families, couples or young adults.”
Pizza Hut opened its first restaurant in the UK in 1973. At the end of last year, the owner of Pizza Hut's global business, YUM! Brands, sold its UK Pizza Hut restaurants to specialist restructuring investor Rutland Partners which it said would help it complete a turnaround of the business.
The group currently comprises 330 dine in restaurants across England, Wales and Scotland, employing more than 10,000 people.