Pizza Hut used to be the ubiquitous All American pizza chain. The stores were everywhere, and the food was good enough to sit down and enjoy it. But now the chain has been losing money for seven straight quarters. Even the addition of Wing Street couldn’t salvage sales, and Ronn Torossian says now is the right time for the Hut
to take a long hard look at its current public image.

After all, pizza sure isn’t the issue. They may argue about who has the best, but Americans LOVE pizza. During the same period in which Pizza Hut, which is still America’s largest pizza chain, lost ground, both Papa John’s and Dominos have seen sales increase. That means the issue is one of perception guiding consumer choice. But why?

There may be no hard and fast answers to that question, but it’s one that Pizza Hut needs to answer now. Losing money for nearly two straight years is more than a fluke, it’s a trend. And it’s not a trend based on anything but consumer preference.

Some have said the issue is in changing trends. Pizza consumers are opting more for takeout than eating in. Picking up hot and ready at Little Caesars, or ordering online at primarily takeout chains. While that may be true, eat-in pizza joints are still doing fairly well. Even Cici’s, which caters to a price-conscious demographic, is maintaining against takeout. Besides, takeout pizza is nothing new.

So, could the answer be an image problem with pizza hut? Torossian believes that’s at least part of it. Sometime in the past decade or two, Pizza Hut made a shift toward a more fast food pizza quality but tried to keep the dine-in experience. That split the target demo … and frustrated both. Then, they doubled down with Wing Street, an interesting concept that had consumers wondering if Pizza Hut was trying to be a sports bar without the sports. Bottom line, America’s top pizza chain is suffering from an identity crisis. If they don’t figure out who they are, consumers will do it for them … by finding someplace else to eat.

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Ronn Torossian is the Founder & Chairman of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently owned PR firms in the United States. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth and vision, with the agency earning accolades including being named a Top 50 Global PR Agency by PRovoke Media, a top three NYC PR agency by O'Dwyers, one of Inc. Magazine's Best Workplaces and being awarded multiple American Business Awards, including a Stevie Award for PR Agency of the Year. With over 25 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected public relations executives. Throughout his career he has advised leading and high-growth businesses, organizations, leaders and boards across corporate, technology and consumer industries. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications. He has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly in the media and has authored two editions of his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations," which is an industry best-seller. Torossian's strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, a Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, and a recipient of Crain's New York Most Notable in Marketing & PR. Outside of 5W, Torossian serves as a business advisor to and investor in multiple early stage businesses across the media, B2B and B2C landscape. Torossian is the proud father of two daughters. He is an active member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of multiple not for profit organizations.