Pizza Hut Inc. believes its new stuffed-crust pizza can save the crust from a life of being tossed aside and boost the company's U.S. sales at the same time. The new pizza is baked with a specially formulated mozzarella string cheese in the crust, which is then topped with a thicker sauce.
"It's the next generation of pizza and the first innovation since pan pizza," said Allan Huston, president and chief executive of Pizza Hut, a unit of PepsiCo Inc. Huston said he expects restaurant sales to increase 10% this year, mainly on the introduction of stuffed pizza. He sees similar gains in 1996.
The new product, the first to be introduced by Pizza Hut since its Bigfoot pizza two years ago, will be rolled out nationally on Sunday. Wichita, Kan.-based Pizza Hut began developing the stuffed-crust pizza about two years ago after it began hearing complaints about how eating the crust was such a letdown compared to a pie laden with cheese and other toppings.
Although people often complain about it, 90% of Americans do eat the crust on their pizza, according to an independent study conducted by National Market Share Inc. Of that 90%, more than three-fourths of the 1,001 households surveyed said they wished something could be done to improve the crust.
Over the last six months, Pizza Hut has tested its latest invention in five markets: Richmond, Va.; Albuquerque, N.M.; Toledo, Ohio; Milwaukee, and Peoria, Ill.
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