Fast food franchise Pizza Hut Australia is reporting a significant uplift in comparative growth in same store sales and transactions, thanks in part to improved franchise relations.
That’s according to general counsel and chief corporate affairs officer, Joanne Moss, who said the business was making a priority of strengthening franchise relationships.
“In a year that marks Pizza Hut’s 60th year of operations, a priority for the new executive team has been strengthening relations with franchisees, to both ensure alignment around Pizza Hut’s commercial, brand and product strategy and drive a more entrepreneurial mindset across the franchise network.”
Key initiatives for enhanced franchisee engagement include setting up an improved franchisee advisory council to serve as a forum for collaboration and discussion, introducing new recognition and reward structures for franchisee performance, and boosting training in workplace safety, operational management and employment standards.
“The commitment shown towards franchisees has contributed directly to the improved performance seen across the Pizza Hut business in recent months. The link between engaged, supported and empowered franchisees and a positive brand and customer experience is very clear to us and we will continue to strengthen our relationship with the network,” Moss said.
“As we drive the business forward, improving dialogue with franchisees and elevating training and development across the franchisee network are key priorities. We’re now starting to see the results of that in financial performance and vastly improved customer satisfaction metrics,” she said.
While the franchisor credits improved franchisee relationships as a significant contribution to business, consumer focused activities have helped drive sales.
New CEO Phil Reed cites a focus on improving customer experience, innovation in product development and a fresh marketing strategy as drivers.
“Initiatives such as making dough freshly throughout the day and better targeting of bundles and coupon offers have seen significant increases in new customers, word-of-mouth advocacy from existing customers and returning customers, according to Pizza Hut’s own data. Our aim is to stay relevant,” Reed said.
The CEO has spearheaded the introduction of the pizza-for-one, Personal Pan Pizza, which has been promoted through new marketing campaigns.
Pizza Hut’s creative digital campaigns mark a departure from previous advertising strategies including contextual messaging across digital media in transit and other environments, social media platforms and publisher-created content.
In one digital campaign launched this week – a first for Pizza Hut globally – the brand has partnered with file- transfer platform WeTransfer to place Pizza Hut messaging across the platform.
Reed has worked as a turnaround specialist across Europe and Asia with QSR brands including McDonald’s, Burger King, Dairy Queen, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut.
He moved to Australia after transforming Pizza Hut in The Philippines to the best-performing network in the Asia Pacific.
Acquired by private equity group Allegro Funds in 2016, Pizza Hut Australia operates 292 stores in Australia.