Pizza Hut offers a franchise with 90% brand awareness

With the focus squarely on expanding its store network through new franchise owner recruitment, Pizza Hut is identifying ambitious growth goals for 2010.

Pizza Hut is committing its focus to franchising in 2010 with the announcement of a doubling of its franchise owner recruitment target for the next 12 months. Chief Executive Jens Hofma has revealed to The Franchise Magazine that the company is seeking to open 35 franchised home delivery stores in the year ahead, almost twice the 18 openings the network achieved in 2009.

"In the last two years there has been a complete rethink within Pizza Hut as to how the two strands of the business - dine-in restaurants and the home delivery stores - are managed," says Jens (pictured, right). "As a result there is complete organisational focus on developing our delivery operations through the home delivery store network."

Pizza Hut has echoed the findings of the food delivery sector in general for the past year in reporting impressive sales growth throughout the recession. "Delivery becomes even more popular in times when people don't have the money to spend on eating out," Jens reflects. "Our home delivery store franchises achieved like-for-like growth of almost 10 per cent this year in the face of falling consumer spending in the greater economy, which is fantastic.

"This boost in sales in part reflects a growth in our sector, but underlying that is the relentless focus on delivering fantastic service within our delivery units. In pizza delivery there are three key factors: the pizza has to be delicious, it has to arrive hot and it has to arrive on time. It you're not hitting these three goals you are irrelevant. We've made huge strides to match or beat all of our competitors on these goals and have achieved an immediate effect."

Pizza Hut's home delivery store concept is currently established in more than 285 locations nationwide, over half of which are franchised. Franchises are offered on a one unit basis, with franchise owners able to expand their business into additional territories and multiple units if they are committed to maximising the growth of their businesses. With approximately 85 per cent of existing franchise owners operating multiple stores, the ambition for growth is not in short supply.

"We're seeking to talk to individuals with a strong hands-on focus for the business," says Jens. "Often the battle for delivery success is won on a local level, so the franchise owner needs to be passionate and have good commercial instincts. Their commitment will be matched by the extensive back up of our marketing support team, which can help the franchise owner to optimise the effectiveness of their leaflet distribution, manage their customer database intelligently and capitalise upon the ongoing product innovation and media strategy provided by Pizza Hut nationally. The value of our brand is huge - it has 90 per cent spontaneous awareness across the UK with lots of positive quality association."

With a medium term goal of reaching 500 home delivery stores nationwide, Pizza Hut's franchise owner recruitment is a top priority for the company. "It's not inconceivable for us to reach 1,000 home delivery stores in the UK," Jens continues. "Pizza Hut has a track record of rapid growth and offering a very profitable proposition for franchise owners. With the increased focus within our organisation on growing the delivery side, now is a very exciting time to become a franchise partner with Pizza Hut."

Interview by Stuart Anderson