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Top 10 Untold Truths of Pizza Hut in China

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Top 10 Untold Truths of Pizza Hut in China

The company is known for its Italian American cuisines like pizza and pasta. Pizza Hut has over 16,700 restaurants worldwide making it the world’s largest pizza chain. There are over 2,000 Pizza Hut locations in China! The chain is called Bìshèng Kè in Simplified Chinese 必胜客 it combines the characters 必 (must), 胜 (win or succeed), and 客 (guest) because it translates to mean that, Pizza Hut is the guest’s restaurant that must win over its guests, Chinese or Foreign. So, basically they just want to win in China and if we are being honest we think they are doing a damn good job doing so! Not only do they win over the foreigners with their prestigious look and menu in China but they have won over the Chinese folks too. 

10. Upscale Dining Experience

Pizza Hut is a totally different look and feel in China in comparison to the U.S or Canada. Here they offer a five-star dining experience at a three-star price. Many foreigners will agree that Pizza Hut is so much better in China because it’s nothing like the North American locations. In China, Pizza Hut is an upscale fine dining restaurant! Calling in for reservations is highly recommended, otherwise, you might wait a while to get seats! Yes, it’s that busy and sought after. The biggest Pizza Hut in the world was built in China! It is located on the 24th floor of a skyscraper in Xiamen, in the Chinese province of Fujian. Pizza Hut had the opportunity to rebrand themselves abroad in China and used an altered business model, offering a fine-dining atmosphere with forks, knives and an extensive menu that caters to Chinese tastes. Its interior is modern and stylish and the menu is practically unrecognizable to people that come from North America. Pizza Hut tends to be more formal in China than it is America. In the U.S it is not a restaurant that is considered to be “fancy” or “expensive” it is more of a fast food chain. The company also has decided that in their Chinese locations they will remodel with a new layout that will include an open kitchen, bar, indoor garden and family dens.

9. Customer Service and Environment

The environment at Pizza Hut’s locations in China is not only clean and elegant but the service is inviting and pleasant. We talked about Pizza Hut being a somewhat classy place to go for lunch or dinner but another thing the Chinese people love about it is the environment and the customer experience. As soon as you walk in the decor is contemporary and the staff are friendly and this sets the tone for customers from the get-go. Pizza Hut is owned by Yum! Brands Inc and they made sure to make the connection between the Western brand and their customer’s cultural roots. In China, Pizza Hut has rebranded itself to a high standard restaurant that Yum! Brands Inc indicated the idea was for it to be “delicious and safe, high quality and fast, nutritious and balanced, healthy living and rooted in China.” After all, Pizza Hut’s Chinese name, “Bìshèng Kè”, means “Must Win/Succeed Customer” and gives no indication that the restaurant is just about “pizza”. Actually, the name lets Chinese customers know that they are succeeding in providing exceptional service and food and so the name resonates well with the Chinese people, as it implies success and good fortune. To North Americans, sitting down for a proper steak meal at Pizza Hut, being served by a friendly, professional, and well-dressed waiter may seem out of the ordinary! 

8. The Menu!

 

Unlike in Canada or in the States, there’s much more to the menu than just simple pepperoni pizza. In China, the company has included a full wine list and a three-course menu complete with dessert. The menu is extensive, with an assortment and variety of pizzas, pasta, salads and steaks. Pizza toppings include Beijing duck and seafood like shrimp and crab. You also have the choice of picking a cheese stuffed crust for your pizza, #drool. Risotto comes studded with mushrooms, there’s clam chowder, fried squid, teriyaki octopus with quail eggs and entrees that range from salmon rolls to lamb shanks to escargot in garlic oil. While some of these food dishes may not sound appetizing to the average North American, Chinese consumers have a different taste and appeal to food. Not only that but they do not have a predisposed bias as to what hamburgers, pizzas or pasta “should” taste like giving Pizza Hut a lot more freedom and flexibility to be creative with the menu items.

7. Cultural Exchange

 

Western chains like Pizza Hut have been able to take advantage and leverage the Chinese intrigue and trust of Western brands and completely giving a new experience. Until recently people bought foreign products or Westernized food solely as a status symbol. The more expensive the better because you appear wealthier. China had opened its economy to the outside world about 30 years ago which sparked a natural curiosity towards Western culture and brands. The first Pizza Hut restaurant opened up in China in 1990. Since then they have expanded to thousands of locations and do a good job at providing a cultural experience for the Chinese by serving everything from sirloin steak or meat lovers pizza to dim sum and rice dishes. The location makes it inevitable to cater to the cultural tastes, all the food chains that are successful in China had to localize. Chinese people would not line up and wait an hour to dine at an American style Pizza Hut, it would have too few options and operate on a take-out basis which is not popular in China. When dining out in China you don’t eat one type of food or meal, you would not see a Chinese person order one meal and eat it all by themselves. They order many different dishes and share with the table, eating a little bit of everything and trying all the dishes that are ordered. 

6. The Food Is Amazing

Well, we know the menu is quite different in Chinese Pizza Hut locations. With an elaborate menu acquired to Chinese tastes we can only imagine how tasty both the Italian-American and the Chinese cuisine menu items are. There’s something for everyone to try whether its the traditional American Hawaiin pizza, Italian spaghetti and meatballs or a Chinese favourite like bacon wrapped quail eggs. With the menu being so exquisite at Pizza Hut locations in China you can get anything from a delicious personal styled pizza with coke to a fancy spaghetti dish with a glass of wine. Pizza Hut has done a great job at combining the two cuisine styles and tastes to create a menu with unique items that are not only loved by expats but the Chinese as well! It’s quite evident that the tastes are a lot different compared to America. You can get pizza’s innovated with new flavours for Chinese people’s taste, such as curry flavour pizza or as we mentioned before seafood pizza or to our next point.. a stinky fruit pizza. 

5. Durian Pizza

 

Maybe you’re a fruit on pizza lover like the classic Hawaiin featuring pineapples, or maybe you think fruit does not belong on pizza and is a crime to even do that to a pizza. Well, in Chinese Pizza Hut locations they introduced the durian pizza. Durian is a popular fruit in many Asian countries and is a favourite in China but it is also known as the stinkiest fruit ever! It is a spiky greenish-brown fruit about the size of a basketball known as the King of Fruits. The new product created a lot of buzz with Chinese consumers, everyone had to try it! The durian pizza was perfect if they want a little bit of both worlds, America and China! Needless to say, it has been a hit combining the durian fruit flavour submerged in the American melted gooey cheese and soft dough. The scent of the durian was described by Julia Child as “dead babies mixed with strawberries and Camembert”, others have described it as something like “berries mixed with old gym socks”. Nonetheless, it is a very popular pizza choice in China and is just one their favourites when it comes to pizza. 

4. Pizza Hut Delivery

 

The company introduced pizza delivery to China in 2001. Pizza Hut says “delivery enables our busy customers to enjoy pizza, as well as our many Chinese dishes, in the comfort of their home or office”. As we know all too well having a pizza delivery to the comfort of your home or for lunch to your workplace is convenient and very popular in Western culture. Although China was not new to food delivery, they were new to “pizza” deliveries. The nice thing about the delivery system in China is you will receive your food nice and hot and the pizza will arrive the right side up! Conveniently you can order from the click of 3 buttons on your touch screen phone, any of the menu items available on food ordering apps like Meituan, and have it at your door within about 40 minutes. Sometimes they even offer discounted deals too! This adds to the convenience factor when you want to wine and dine at home instead of getting out of your comfy pants and heading down to the restaurant. 

3. Pizza Hut Express

Later in 2008 the company then introduced “Pizza Hut Express” and opened up several locations in Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hangzhou. Yum! Brands Inc, the world’s largest fast-food chain operator, operates Pizza Hut and Pizza Hut Delivery. With its success in China, they decided to introduce their third pizza brand, Pizza Hut Express, to the Chinese market. Pizza Hut Express is different from the restaurants and the delivery locations because it provides low-priced take-away snacks only. Previously take away food or on-the-go food was not much of a thing in China, but times are changing. Since Pizza Hut has become a well known and popular restaurant for Chinese customers, when they spot the express locations they line up to support a brand they trust and find tasty. Su Jingshi, the president of Yum! Brands Inc China Division said, “We’ve introduced all of our pizza brands to China because of the strong consumer demand and good sales achievements in the market”.

2. A Dream Come True 

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Pizza Hut is a very common and basic restaurant in North America and people don’t fantasize about getting a pizza, it’s easily accessible at many different pizza joints. You don’t plan for pizza you just decide “pizza for dinner tonight” and stop in at a pizza joint on the way home from work or call and place an order for the family size. So Pizza Hut doesn’t invest much in North American soil and keep it pretty basic. In China on the other hand pizza is special, it’s not their common meal, it’s a Western delicacy and people plan for the night out with family or friends in advance. It’s usually the upper middle class that can afford it and for all these reasons it is exactly why the experience is better in China. It’s no secret that China doesn’t trust their food, their drinks or even products but they have expressed repeatedly that they trust Western brands and having it available to them is a dream come true. Pizza Hut offers a foreign food experience, a taste of the West and provide tasty meals made with imported food right at the Chinese consumer’s fingertips.. something that was not always a possibility. 

1. Salad Towers

If you could only make one trip to the salad bar, how would you get your money’s worth? Well, crafty Chinese customers started a foodie trend of “salad stacking”, the art of stacking fruits and vegetables on one plate to create very tall and elaborate salad towers. This began when Pizza Hut restaurants in China introduced salad bars serving veggies and fruits to promote healthy eating but only allowed one trip to the salad bar! Seeing as customers could not go back for second helpings, they found a way to utilize the plate to its full potential and we mean FULL. The Chinese Pizza Hut customers became known as salad engineers or salad stacking artists! So a few years ago when the company announced they were removing salad bars in China as part of a menu revamp it was questioned if the real reason was the hefty salad towers! The Chinese customers came to enjoy building these salad towers sharing tips online that the trick is to build a stable base with a veggie like cucumber slices and carrot sticks and held together with salad dressing. Sounds like an interesting concept, who’s ready to start trying out this method next time your at the salad bar? Get the most bang for your buck!

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