Pizza HOT: 5 Questions With Pizza Hut’s Zipporah Allen


Pizza Hut HOT delivery system

Pizza Hut knows that the closer home delivery pizza is to the piping oven-hot pie that is served at one of its restaurants, the happier customers will be. So America’s No. 1 pizza brand is rolling out its new oven HOT delivery system nationwide, featuring delivery pouches with 3M Thinsulate technology and a redesigned pizza box with crisp sheet inserts that retain heat much better than conventional boxes.

Th new pizza delivery pouch is a tech innovation that features the same material found in astronauts’ space blankets. The result—home-delivered pizza that’s 15 degrees hotter than before.

Pizza Hut HOT delivery material parka

So warm, in fact, that the brand created limited-edition “Pizza Parkas” made from the same technology and material. Pizza Hut is giving them away in random drawings this month.

What’s more, Pizza Hut has perfected an algorithm that it says will help drivers do a much more accurate and reliable job of quickly targeting locations for deliveries from its 6,300 US restaurants, to speed getting pizza from its ovens to customers’ doors.

“What consumers want more than anything else is a hot pizza,” stated Zipporah Allen, vice president of marketing and consumer insights for Pizza Hut. “This is just another way that Pizza Hut is making it easier for pizza fans to get a better pizza.”

Zipporah Allen - Pizza HutWe spoke with Allen (right) about the new HOT boxes and the brand’s ongoing quest to improve the customer experience.

What consumer insights are informing this initiative? 

There’s nothing better than a hot pizza. We’re focusing on delivering a more crisp and craveable pizza.

How does this fit into Pizza Hut’s broader goals to always improve the customer experience?

We’re laser-focused on earning the first minute and the last mile in the consumer journey, and our oven HOT delivery system really helps us deliver our craveable, iconic products in a more craveable manner through delivery that is a lot hotter.

What led to the development of the HOT delivery system? Was it the insight that consumers were disappointed with the temperature of their pizzas upon delivery—or did the new technology come first?

It really was a combination of both. We know when consumers are making decisions in the pizza category we have a taste advantage, so we really wanted to capitalize on that advantage and the craveability of our product because we know that’s something consumers want. And our engineering team was starting to look at how we could deliver pizzas hotter and how we could look at the overall delivery ecosystem, which is why you’ve seen us focus on the pouch and box and making it thicker, and some of the other moves we’ve made around our delivery system. They include our new delivery algorithm which makes us a lot more accurate in setting expectations for consumers about how long it will take to deliver. Also, we are hiring a lot more drivers, which is important to the overall delivery experience.

How do you know you have a taste advantage on the competition?

We know our products are iconic and craveable. We’re the originators of pan pizza and first in the category to launch that. We’re the only place where you can get stuffed crust pizza. We’re trying to deliver our most iconic, craveable produtcs in an even better ways for customers.

Your innovation focus here is on quality, making sure the best possible pizza gets to the customer, which is an interesting contrast to Domino’s, which has been emphasizing speed of ordering and delivery technology. Have they over-emphasized that aspect to the exclusion of focusing on taste?

That’s a really good question. I’d say we’re focused on our business strategy in digital but also in delivery, and within delivery it’s all about making sure we’re delivering a crisp and craveable product for consumers every single time, which is why we’ve focused on HOT. We’re making it easy for consumers to access our brand and owning the first minute and the last mile.

We’ve made progress in the digital space with our app and digital sales. We were the first in the category to do text on a delivery tracker so consumers don’t have to be glued to their screen while waiting for pizza. It’s an important part of our strategy. But we’re excited about what we are doing with the product because at the end of the day, that’s really what matters most to the consumer.

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