Pizza Hut tests selling ‘by the slice’

NEW YORK ( AP ) — Pizza Hut plans to start offering pizza by the slice for the first time in two examination locations this workweek, as the chain looks to keep yard with trendy competitors offering agile, custom-built pies. The chain says the two locations — one in York, Neb. and Pawtucket, R.I. — will open on Tuesday. A slice will cost between $ 2 and $ 3 and take three to four minutes to heat up. They ‘ll be made with new recipes more in note with the dilutant pies sold in the Northeast.

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The tests reflect how established restaurant chains are scrambling to reinvent themselves to keep pace with a quickly changing industry. Diners are increasingly flocking to places such as Chipotle, where they feel they can get restaurant-quality food for just a little more than they would pay at fast-food chains such as Burger King. In fact, Chipotle recently announced plans to move into the pizza occupation with Pizzeria Locale. Customers walk up to a counter and can watch as their pizza is built ; the proto-indo european is then placed in an oven that cooks it in about 2 minutes. other pizza chains feature exchangeable fast-cooking, make-your-own concepts, including Blaze Pizza, based in Pasadena, Calif., and Pizza Studio, based in Los Angeles. For its separate, Pizza Hut has been focusing on developing its smaller format carry-out stores quite than its dine-in restaurants in recent years as its sales have been choppy. In the inaugural three quarters of 2013, sales fell slightly at locations open at least class. “ We ‘re seeing the trends for agile and ready products, ” noted Carrie Walsh, Pizza Hut ‘s chief market policeman.

Rival Domino ‘s has besides been selling pizza by the cut at some of its newly designed stores, according to a spokesman. Pizza Hut ‘s parent caller, Yum Brands, is besides testing a more upmarket concept with its KFC chain called “ KFC eleven. ” And McDonald ‘s, the world ‘s biggest ground beef chain, is testing a “ build-your-own hamburger ” concept in Laguna Niguel, Calif. The growing vehemence on rush may prove to be a stumble freeze for some companies. Pizza Hut ‘s traditional ovens, for example, take about 7 to 10 minutes to cook pies, according to Al Litchenburg, the chain ‘s foreman development officer. By comparison, the upstart pizza chains such as Blaze Pizza promise cooking times of precisely two to three minutes. Litchenburg says the Pizza Hut test locations will be equipped modern ovens to heat up the slices, but they ‘ll besides have the traditional ovens to cook other pies.

He said the caller, which is based in Plano, Texas, and has 6,400 U.S. locations, will test variations of the concept throughout the year before deciding how to proceed. The trial restaurant in Nebraska will feature a look designed to be more in line with the feel one might expect at a Panera or Chipotle. It will have salad and pasta stations ; customers walk up and order their food, then have it brought to them by employees. The smaller Rhode Island location will merely feature the “ slice barricade. ” The slices there will be a moment thinner than in Nebraska to reflect local anesthetic tastes, Litchenburg said .