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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 and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 20 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth, overseeing more than 175 professionals in the company's headquarters in midtown Manhattan. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named "PR Agency of the Year" by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world's most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, and a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, was named to PR Week's "40 under Forty" list, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations" is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities.