Saturday, 26 April 2008

Kiwi Pizza Feels the Pinch as Raw Cost Increases Start to Bite

The BBQ swirl has gone, the cheese is dwindling and chicken pizzas are disappearing - are New Zealand's favourite pizza companies skimping on their toppings?

The nation's three leading chains have indeed cut ingredients but claim different reasons for the change as one of the most cut-throat food markets gets even tougher.

Rising food prices have forced Hell to reduce the amount of cheese it uses while Domino's Pizza has reduced the size of its base.

Market leader Pizza Hut has dropped some items - including the BBQ sauce swirl - in a bid, it says, to standardise its menu internationally. The changes are another twist in a hugely competitive market.

Russel Creedy, chief executive of Pizza Hut owner Restaurant Brands, told the Herald on Sunday that the increase in the number of outlets continued to outstrip population growth.
The price of key ingredients such as cheese and flour are also having a big impact on the industry.

Hell general manager Colin Mellor said the "real pressure" was forcing the company to be "clever" with menus through measures such as cutting back on cheese.

To counteract the rising cost of ingredients, Hell is introducing a new range of classic pizzas from tomorrow. They will have fewer and cheaper toppings, such as pepperoni and cheese, but the same amount of coverage on the slice. "We would always avoid scrimping on toppings, it goes against everything we stand for," Mellor said.

Domino's franchise consultant Ryan Bohm said research showed that Kiwis wanted plenty of toppings on their pizzas. The chain would rather introduce small price rises rather than reduce the amount on each slice.

"We certainly won't be taking any toppings off," he said.

Pizza Hut has ditched its BBQ sauce swirl on all but its BBQ Meatlovers option.

The BBQ swirl was kept on when the company bought the Eagle Boyz chain and incorporated several menu items. Creedy said the sauce was being spread on the base instead of drizzled over the top and rejected any suggestion his firm was trying to cut costs.

Creedy said Pizza Hut had maintained the size and weight of its bases. Oregano, chilli flakes and several chicken options were being pulled from the menu because they weren't big sellers, he said.

Cost-driven or not, Pizza Hut's changes, which came in this month, have left some customers unhappy.

Christie Purcell said her flat usually ordered "create your own" pizzas and were upset they no longer came with BBQ sauce and oregano.

"The woman on the phone just said 'we don't have BBQ sauce any more' and she said we weren't the first to complain about it."

Purcell said the resulting pizza failed to tantalise the tastebuds and her flat would use another firm - even if it meant paying more.

"It was bland, and it just wasn't worth it. I could have found more ingredients in my fridge and we hadn't been shopping for ages."

She and her flatmates could handle a small rise in the price of pizza, but only to preserve the taste.

"Eradicating basic ingredients is ridiculous," she said.

"The most ironic part was that the wording on the box included, and I quote, 'so many toppings; so little time'."


Any move to reduce pizza toppings would leave a bad taste in the mouths of customers.
That's the finding of a blind taste test conducted at the first sitting of the Herald on Sunday's Consumer Court. We assembled a cross-section of readers and asked the panel to rate pizzas from leading chains Pizza Hut, Hell and Domino's, and award-winning gourmet Auckland outlet Al Volo.

The verdict? It's the amount of each topping used, rather than the number of toppings, that makes the best slice. And you get what you pay for, the highest-priced pizzas, from Al Volo and Hell, tying for top spot. Domino's came in third, with Pizza Hut lagging in fourth.

Jurors noted a "greasy" texture and cheap processed taste after trying the pizzas from the three chain stores. Many said Domino's was the cheesiest and three described Pizza Hut's toppings as "tasteless".

Our jurors were all regular pizza eaters, several saying they had noticed changes in their favourite brands over the past year.

Julie Chambers said the quality of former family favourite Hell had deteriorated. "The toppings seem to be disappearing. We've also tried Domino's, but it's less than special."

Matthew Allen also thought Hell had gone downhill. "They've started doing the same kinds as everyone else. It's not much different from Domino's but way more expensive."

Sarah Feners said it was better to buy bases and make your own pizza, or fork out for a slice of woodfired gourmet pizza.

Interior designer Hannah Feners, 25, said all but the Al Volo option were "trying to conform to this ideal of what a pizza should be".

Russel Creedy, chief executive of Pizza Hut owner Restaurant Brands, said PH's poor showing might have been down to a particular pizza. All were handmade and the results were down to the operator of each outlet.

Hell general manager Colin Mellor said the company had expanded rapidly from one Wellington store to 70 franchises and a change in perception could be a "byproduct of success". "We haven't changed our toppings at all. They are still exactly the same as the very early days, and the same amounts."

Domino's is going for a slice of the gourmet market with the launch over the next nine days of a Big Taste menu that gives customers a chance to buy extra toppings for $2.90.

New Zealand Herald

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

MAD TV - Donimo's Pizza Fudgems Parody

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Poacher Gets a Pizza Lincoln Action

Domino's Pizza and Lincoln City FC have teamed up in a sponsorship deal of their club mascot. For the full story click here

The Pizzas and Stuff blog is raising money for Special Olympics GB by bringing you the best pizza related stories from around the Web.

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Pizza Hut Becomes Pot Hut - Allegedly

Police have arrested a pizza parlour manager on allegations he sold marijuana from his drive-through window in Fort Smith, Arkansas.

Authorities say state and local investigators acting on a tip went to the Pizza Hut restaurant and found about 170 grams of marijuana and a set of digital scales in the manager's office.

Twenty-eight-year-old Aaron Massey is charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.

Massey has been released on $3,500 bail

Digital Scales? In a restaurant? Seems pretty normal to me.

Pizza Hust Tuscani Pasta Commercial

To promote their new range of delivered pasta Pizza Hut went down the "Hidden Camera" route by filming 50 diners in a quality New York restaurant, and their reactions when they are told that their food was in fact all delivered in by Pizza Hut.

Real or Fake? You decide!

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Pizza King Owner Happy After Forced Move

SCHENECTADY- New York — Business is booming in the Pizza King’s new home, and the king is so pleased with his new location that he says he wouldn’t go back to his valuable State Street corner even if it were offered to him on a silver platter.

“Now I wouldn’t go back there even with free rent, swear to God,” Jon Camaj said during a break between baking pizzas Friday.

That’s quite a change from the man who once swore he wouldn’t leave his crumbling State Street store until his dead body was carried out the door. Metroplex Development Authority officials spent months persuading Camaj that his rented storefront was falling apart and could not be saved. They wanted him to agree to break his lease so a developer could tear the building down, but Camaj launched a popular rebellion to fight the demolition. Residents flocked to his store to protest that a small business owner was being bullied by big-money developers, and Metroplex officials said Camaj wouldn’t listen to reason.

But eventually he agreed to move to Jay Street, where he now serves pizza in an airy, sunlit building across from City Hall.

He says now that he shouldn’t have fought the move.

“It’s like day and night. It’s like a different world,” he said. “Almost full credit should go to Metroplex. Jayme Lahut convinced me. He said, ‘Jon, this is really good spot, you should take it.’ I scream and yell and all that stuff, but he’s still a great guy.”

Camaj told Lahut that his customers wouldn’t follow him two blocks away from State Street. He gloomily predicted the death of his business, which he built over the course of 20 years after immigrating here from Yugoslavia.

But as people lined up nearly out the door during lunch hour Friday, a month after he opened, he was happy to say that he’d been wrong. He hasn’t lost any business at all.

“I was never expecting this. It’s really great,” he said. “I was going to move out of here [Schenectady], but I’m happy I stayed.”

The pizzeria was so full Friday that strangers ended up sharing tables. That’s how MVP office worker David Smith met landscaper Jeff Winegard, who had never been to Pizza King before. Smith assured Winegard that he hadn’t missed anything by never visiting the old site, where parts of the building’s ceiling were collapsing before Camaj moved out.

“This building is better. The interior is better. The whole interior design is better,” Smith said.

Others said they were willing to walk just about any distance to buy Camaj’s pizza.

“I went there almost every day,” Eddy Senior Care employee Kathy Johnson said of Camaj’s old location. “It’s still great pizza. Even though I have to walk a little further, it’s great weather, so who cares?”

Others argued that his new store is far more convenient. There is free two-hour parking right behind the store, metered parking directly in front of the store, and unlike the State Street location, no one has to duck under scaffolding to get to Camaj’s front door.

“This is a better location,” said new customer Kirsten Ford. “I tend to walk down Jay Street more — there’s not as much on State Street.”

Friday, 18 April 2008

"Boycott Pizza Hut" Campaign Takes Off as Facebook Group Looks for its Second Member

They fired a driver after the guy stopped a robbery using a legally owned and possessed gun!!! He was about to be killed by a carjacking mugger and instead of losing his life, he lost his job.

read more | digg story

Pizza Hut Raises Money for Special Olympics

Special Olympics Montana and the 2008 Bresnan/Chevy raffle have formed a partnership with Pizza Hut restaurants statewide.

On each Tuesday in April, each Pizza Hut outlet in Montana will donate a percentage of its sales - dine-in, takeout and home delivery - to Special Olympics Montana.

Tickets for a chance to win the grand prize - a four-door, crew cab 2008 Chevy Silverado valued at $34,500 - will also be on sale for $5 each by local and area programs.

Each raffle ticket has a $3 coupon good toward one large pizza.

The drawing will be held May 16 during State Summer Games closing ceremonies in Great Falls

The Pizzas and Stuff blog is raising money for Special Olympics GB by bringing you the best pizza related stories from around the Web.

Please help us and make a donation by clicking on the widget on the top left or visiting

If you really like us you can even download the widget to your own site and help us raise even more dough

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Rising Wheat Prices Hit Pizza Growth

The days of big slices coming off pizza prices are gone as fast-food chains absorb rising input costs.

But the pizza companies have other ways to hit your wallet and waistline this year.

Australian fast-food chains including Domino's Pizza and Eagle Boys are promoting quality, menu variety and value-for-money offerings to tempt customers as family budgets tighten.

They're being held back from savage pizza price discounting wars because they're negotiating a massive rise in prices of key ingredients including wheat – its price has more than doubled in a year – and cheese and meat for toppings.

Food industry experts say that because Australia's economy needs to slow to avert inflationary pressures, this probably will mean slowing growth for the fast-food chains.

But they should weather the storm OK because consumers might opt for fast food instead of trips to more expensive restaurants.

The challenge is to keep traffic high using value-based promotions, luring customers with menu variety and pushing more profitable menu items such as desserts.

Brisbane-based Domino's put strategies in place late last year to protect its profits from a rise in local commodity prices.

It's lifting its proportion of franchises, expanding online ordering and has split its menu.

It offers standard, cheaper pizzas and has a more expensive range with extra and higher quality toppings.

It also has introduced desserts.

"We knew last year commodity prices were going to be strong," Domino's chief executive Don Meij says.

"People thought we'd just lift our prices. Instead we decided to offer better quality.

"You can still buy a standard pizza for the same price or you can pay more for better quality."

Eagle Boys, also Brisbane-based, is highlighting the size and quality of its pizzas. It said it constantly was investigating new menu items to complement its traditional offerings.

The new products had all launched with great success, providing a wider variety of options for customers.

Focus groups had confirmed that, although product innovation in pizzas was important, "quality holds far greater importance and is definitely more top of mind for consumers".

Queensland Courier Mail

Papa John's Franchisee Faces Jail Term for Unlicenced Trading After Police Crackdown

papa johns lincolnLincoln takeaway traders could face six months in prison or massive fines if caught selling hot food and drinks without the correct licence.

In a recent sting staff at six of the city's takeaways were caught operating in night-time hours - 11pm to 5am - without a licence to serve hot food and drink.

The police and Lincoln City Council's licensing team swooped on 97 venues in the city in one night.

High street businesses Lincoln Kebab House, Topkapi, Milanos and Papa John's, as well as Chicken Cottage in Wigford Way and Tower Pizza in Roman Pavement, were all caught in the clampdown.

Now both the police and Lincoln City Council are compiling reports on the crackdown, with a decision expected by the end of May.

PC Ian Figgitt, of Lincoln Police's licensing unit, said people needed to know that they could not trade without a licence.

"The police will continue to target premises operating illegally and take the appropriate action," he said."

Licensing laws aim to protect members of the public, prevent crime and disorder, prevent public nuisance and protect children from harm.

"The sting is part of an ongoing campaign targeting late night venues offering hot food and drink to city residents.

Lincolnshire Echo

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

America's Got Talent - The Dancing Pizza Girl!

Dancing Pizza girlClick here for video of the Dancing Pizza Girl.

All Jessica Kushner needs to do her job is her MP3 player and a cardboard sign advertising $5 pizzas.

The 30-year-old Charleston woman was hired by the Domino's Pizza on Cantley Drive a few months ago for the sole purpose of dancing along nearby U.S. 119 while promoting the outlet's Fresh-N-Ready pizzas.

Calling her shuffling and bee-bopping 'dancing' may be questionable, but her cheery presence seems to delight passing motorists.

From 1 to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, you can usually count on seeing the self-proclaimed Domino's Dancing Queen if you've turned onto U.S. 119 from MacCorkle Avenue.

Drivers and passengers turn to look as if they're staring at some sort of roadside attraction. Most of them smile.

She gets a lot of honks and waves. And some not-so-friendly gestures.
"I get a lot of smiles and honks," Kushner said, "and the occasional middle finger. That's expected."

Kushner thinks she's had a few expletives and sexually insensitive remarks hurled at her, but she tries tuning it out with her digital music player. She just smiles and continues dancing in her Domino's visor and blue work shirt.

Once in a while, a pizza deliverer from a competing chain will drive by and playfully make a cross symbol with their fingers.

"People recognize me now," she said. "They know who I am. It's like saying 'Hey' to your neighbor."

Pizza shops have hired employees before to stand alongside traffic with signs hyping the latest deals. But none have taken it to a fun-filled level quite like Kushner.

If it's pouring rain, it doesn't matter. Kushner is still out there.

She recently donned a poncho to strut her stuff in an open rainstorm after her manager advised her not to go out.

"I don't care what the weather's like," she said. "I'm just out here trying to be silly and trying to get people thinking about Domino's Pizza."

When she first started her job, Kushner just stood and held the sign. That got tiresome.
She started cramming her MP3 player with some fresh-n-ready tunes to liven up her duties along the road.

"I'm not just going to stand out here," she said. "I get down and gritty."

On the job, she listens mostly to dance, rap and R&B music. Artists like 50-Cent, Eminem, Fergie and Nelly, what the hip kids listen to, she said.

A heavy metal song popped up on her music player on a warm, sunny day this week and she quickly skipped it.

"I can only headbang to that," she quipped.

She ends her shifts by working two or three hours back in the kitchen making pizzas. She prefers her outside job.

Before joining Domino's, Kushner worked at Subway and Family Dollar. She's an on-again, off-again student majoring in communications at West Virginia State University.

Kushner said she hasn't had to encounter really treacherous weather yet. But not even a few weeks into spring, she's already suffered stinging sunburns on her legs. She wore long pants the next day to cover up the burns.

She'll occasionally put on a pair of shorts.

"But not short shorts," she said. "I'm not trying to sell sex."

So how can someone with a job that could be perceived as demeaning treat it seriously and with such cheer?

"I thrive on peoples' smiles," Kushner said. "I try to be happy. Everyone has their bad days. But I haven't had one out here yet."

Maybe it has something to do with her caffeine intake. Her daily prework routine consists of a few cups of coffee and a couple cans of energy drinks.

While some passers-by may think she's goofy, the same could be said for some of the motorists flying by.

"Don't think I can't see you picking your nose," she said. "Because I've seen it. A lot of people talk on their cell phones, too, with one hand. Then they'll take their other hand off the steering wheel and wave at me. I'm like, 'No, don't do that! You'll get in an accident!'"

Charleston Daily Mail

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Burglar Photographed Inside Davis County Pizza Place

Clearfield - Authorities want to find a man who was captured on surveillance video burglarizing a Davis County pizza restaurant.

The bandit entered the "5-Buck Pizza" restaurant on the night of Sunday, Apr. 6. near 1000 West and 1700 South in Clearfield. According to authorities, the man took money from two cash registers and pried a safe from the shelf.

The burglar was photographed by the restaurant's surveillance camera and officials hope that the images will lead to his capture.

The burglar appears to be a white male in his late 30s or mid-40s, with balding dark hair and a slender build.

Authorities believe that he is the same person responsible for burglarizing four other businesses in the immediate vicinity as the pizza place, on the same night.

The bandit caused hundreds of dollars in damage and got away with an unknown amount of cash.
Authorities urge the public to view the images taken from the surveillance video to see if the suspect is recognizable. (Warning: There is an advert first!)

Anyone with information in this case is encouraged to contact the Clearfield Police Department at (801) 525-2806.