Restaurant sales may be recovering nicely in the U.S., but eateries are increasingly looking abroad, where diners are more accepting of innovations such as Pizza Hut’s new cheeseburger-crusted pies in the Middle East.
Think it’s a joke? A fantasy food dreamed up by a teenage boy? Even the advertisement acknowledges how silly it all sounds.
In the video, diners look on agog as a royal page brings in the monstrosity “masterpiece” – dubbed the “Crown Crust Pizza” – on a cushion. The overwhelming product looks like a standard meat-laden pizza – but topped with the accouterments of a taco and ringed with mini burgers dripping with melted cheese.
Fast-food restaurants are known for wacky promotions in other countries. Earlier this week, Pizza Hut launched pies with hot dog-stuffed crusts in the U.K. Domino’s said in September that it plans to be the first quick service chain on the moon. A Russian Burger King ad in December featured unicorns, tattoo artists and shamans.
Major food companies, such as Pizza Hut owner Yum and mega-chain McDonald’s, are expanding outside the U.S. to tap a growing consumer base with increasingly adventurous tastes.
The pizza scene is much tamer at home, where Domino’s artisan pies are considered a breakthrough in the business. Diners are more health-conscious, less given over to excess (unless you’re at the Heart Attack Grill, where a margarita-drinking, cigarette-smoking woman collapsed this week after eating one of the calorie-heavy burgers).
But business is booming, with 41% of Americans saying they eat pizza once a week compared to just 26% two years ago.
And overall, the restaurant scene seems to be emerging from its recessionary lows. Private fast-food and fast casual companies have seen sales rise 5.69% in the last 12 months after growing 5.18% in 2011, according to financial analysis firm Sageworks Inc. The segment’s sales hit its lowest growth rate of 0.78% in 2009.
Similarly, full-service sit-down restaurants are seeing revenue boosts after sales declined 2.46% in 2009. Over the last 12 months, they’ve grown 5.19%, according to Sageworks.