National / International News

Can curried crust and balsamic drizzle help Pizza Hut?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-11-18 09:47

Pizza Hut, the nation’s biggest pizza chain, is overhauling its brand. There’s a new logo, a more casual uniform, and fresh leadership, but the biggest upgrade is the menu.  

Taking a hint from fast casual stars Chipotle and Chop't, Pizza Hut will allow customers to design their own pies with curry-flavored crusts and Sriracha sauce. They're doubling flavor options and going exotic. 

The question is, can those changes help Pizza Hut get back on track?  It's reported same-store sales declines for eight straight quarters, while rivals like Domino’s Pizza and Little Caesars have enjoyed gains. 

At Pizza Hut’s Plano, Texas headquarters, chief marketing officer Carrie Walsh shows off what looks like artisan pizza – a thin-crust pie with bright green spinach and red Peruvian peppers, topped with a spiral swirl of balsamic.

There are more than two dozen new ingredients on Pizza Hut’s “Flavor Of Now” menu. Customers will be able to choose flavors to brush onto crusts – like “Pretzel Piggy” and “Ginger Boom Boom”. There are four drizzles, and a skinny lineup for those seeking a lighter, healthier pie.

“In fact there are now two billion ways you can customize your pizza,” Walsh says.

Walsh says customers want flavor adventure. Why not let them play mad scientist with each pie?

“Pizza is America’s favorite food, we thought it made sense to bring new flavor experiences to pizza,” she says.

But two billion customization options is overkill, says Rich Duprey. He writes about fast-casual dining for The Motley Fool, and he's a former pizza deliveryman.

Duprey says Pizza Hut needed to sprinkle in a little spice, but not drop in the whole spice bottle.

“Sales 101 says keep it simple,” he says. “A confused mind always says no.”  

To keep out chaos behind the counter, Pizza Hut undertook its biggest training endeavor ever. Walsh is confident the plethora of new options won’t slow down service or delivery.

“We’ve been working on [rebranding] for a year,” Walsh says.

The new menu will be up in 6,000 Pizza Hut stores Wednesday.

Baby, It's Cold Outside: All 50 States Hit 32 Degrees

NPR News - Tue, 2014-11-18 09:42

Yep, even Hawaii, where Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano reaching 13,800 feet above sea level, was below freezing.

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VIDEO: 'Please help bring my baby back'

BBC - Tue, 2014-11-18 09:38
A mother whose baby daughter was kidnapped by her estranged husband and taken to Libya has made an emotional appeal for her return.

Ivorian troops ordered to end protest

BBC - Tue, 2014-11-18 09:37
Ivory Coast's defence minister Paul Koffi Koffi orders soldiers to return to barracks after they stage protests in at least two cities to demand unpaid allowances.

BBFC changes Paddington 'sex' advice

BBC - Tue, 2014-11-18 08:58
The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) changes its guidance about "mild sex references" in the new Paddington film after a request from the film's distributor.

Whales to be herded away from coast

BBC - Tue, 2014-11-18 08:55
A pod of pilot whales is spotted off the Essex coast, as efforts are made to herd the animals out to sea.

Couple's hotel 'fine' for bad review

BBC - Tue, 2014-11-18 08:53
A couple are "fined" £100 for writing a bad review of a Blackpool hotel on Trip Advisor.

VIDEO: Prince supports educational Ebola video

BBC - Tue, 2014-11-18 08:31
Prince William has said he is watching with "great concern" the Ebola situation in West Africa and has expressed support for an educational video about Ebola.

The Many Stories Behind Double-Eyelid Surgery

NPR News - Tue, 2014-11-18 08:18

The procedure to give people with single eyelids a crease above their lashes often provokes controversy. Kat Chow steps past the debate over whether people should do it to get at the "why."

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Concern over rising heart infection

BBC - Tue, 2014-11-18 08:15
Rates of a deadly infection of the heart have increased after guidelines advised against giving antibiotics to prevent it in patients at risk, research shows.

Once Tolerated, Westerners Are Now Targeted By Radical Islamists

NPR News - Tue, 2014-11-18 08:12

The kidnapping and killing of Westerners isn't a new phenomenon in the Middle East. But the last time around, it stopped after just a few years. This time there's no end in sight.

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VIDEO: Synagogue victim 'feared radicalisation'

BBC - Tue, 2014-11-18 08:11
The cousin of a British-born man, killed in an attack by Palestinian militants on a synagogue in Jerusalem, has told the BBC that he was concerned about radicalisation.

New dye 'should end fuel laundering'

BBC - Tue, 2014-11-18 08:10
A new measure to combat fuel laundering should result in the illegal trade being "virtually eliminated" in the UK, according to HM Revenue and Customs.

VIDEO: Treasury Committee

BBC - Tue, 2014-11-18 08:05
MPs take evidence on the treatment of financial services consumers.

As Espresso Rises, Will 'Greek Coffee' Be Left To The Turks?

NPR News - Tue, 2014-11-18 08:01

"Greek coffee" may be a matter of national pride in the Mediterranean nation. But increasingly, Greeks are embracing espresso, an imported brew. Chalk it up to globalization.

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VIDEO: Video shows mafia initiation ritual

BBC - Tue, 2014-11-18 07:57
Anti-mafia police have released unprecedented secretly-filmed footage of an initiation ritual.

Why is the Keystone XL pipeline so disputed?

BBC - Tue, 2014-11-18 07:53
As the US Congress debates legislation to approve the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline, the BBC look at the history of the long-in-development project.

Iraq troops reach Baiji oil refinery

BBC - Tue, 2014-11-18 07:50
Iraqi security forces reach the besieged Baiji oil refinery after five months of fighting Islamic State militants in the area.

Organic molecules detected on comet

BBC - Tue, 2014-11-18 07:48
The Philae lander has detected organic molecules on the surface of its comet, scientists have confirmed.

FIFA Files Criminal Complaint Over 2018, 2022 Soccer World Cup Bidding

NPR News - Tue, 2014-11-18 07:43

Soccer's governing body said assets may have been transferred to Switzerland in connection with the bids. Just days ago, FIFA cleared eventual winners Russia and Qatar of corruption.

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