Pizza Hut jumps on 'hot' hot honey trend with new menu items

Hot Honey Pizza and Hot Honey Wings launch in two markets for a limited time.
Hot Honey Pizza and Wings
Pizza Hut is testing Hot Honey Pizza and Hot Honey Wings in its Dallas and Cleveland restaurants. | Photo courtesy of Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut introduced Hot Honey Pizza and Hot Honey Wings Tuesday in its Dallas and Cleveland markets.

The limited-time items showcase the sweet-heat flavor trend, specifically with the addition of hot honey, a current menu star. Restaurant Business sister company Technomic reports that hot honey now appears on 5% of chain menus, with everything from breakfast sandwiches to ribs, wings, pizza, grilled veggies, salmon and cocktails getting a drizzle or two.

In many instances, the menus call out Mike’s Hot Honey as the product of choice, a Brooklyn boutique brand that has become wildly popular. But Pizza Hut simply cites a signature hot honey infused with chili peppers on its new menu items.

The Hot Honey Pizza features a pizza crust topped with marinara sauce, a generous layer of cheese, classic pepperoni and crispy cupped pepperoni, balancing the honey’s sweet heat with the savory-salty taste of the pepperoni. The crisp pepperoni cups are ideally shaped to hold the honey drizzle.

The Hot Honey Wings are coated in hot honey, double dipped in the sweet-heat flavor combo. They’re available in bone-in and boneless versions, starting at $5.99 for six. The Hot Honey Pizza is $11.99; both are available while supplies last.

Although the hot honey trend shows no sign of losing steam, Pizza Hut is a little late to the game. Smaller players including Donatos, Old Chicago, Cicis, Hungry Howie’s and Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza beat the 6,500+-unit chain to the punch with their own LTOs. And Buffalo Wild Wings, Wingstop and Slim Chickens are among the concepts that already menu hot honey wings.

But Pizza Hut is on an innovation streak, introducing a line of Melts last year (single-serve handheld sandwiches), bringing back its Big New Yorker New York-style pizza, and launching a TikTok-inspired Pickle Pizza for a very limited time last month in New York City.

Innovation has been key to lifting sales, Chris Turner, CFO for Pizza Hut parent company Yum Brands, told RB editor-in-chief Jonathan Maze in an interview earlier this year. Same-store store sales increased 8% last quarter.

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