Food

Pizza Hut makes a move into burger territory

With its new Cheeseburger Melt, the pizza chain aims to take on the fast-food burger giants.
melt
Pizza Hut swaps in thin pizza crust for a burger bun, for cheeseburger that more closely resembles a patty melt. | Photo courtesy of Pizza Hut.

Pizza Hut is getting into the burger business, the Plano, Texas-based chain announced Tuesday.

The Cheeseburger Melt is joining the menu, a handheld item made by folding a thin pizza crust over ground beef, applewood-smoked bacon, onions, mozzarella and cheddar, served with a side of Burger Sauce for dipping. Instead of a bun, which Pizza Hut claims gets soggy during delivery, the chain encloses the filling in a crispy, Parmesan thin crust and bakes it, creating what it claims is how a cheeseburger should be: crunchy, portable and oozing with cheese.

The Cheeseburger Melt looks more like a patty melt than a traditional burger, which makes sense since it’s more or less a line extension of Pizza Hut’s Melts.  The baked foldovers, which resemble slimmed-down calzones or crisp quesadillas, launched in October, 2022, in four varieties, including  Chicken Bacon Parmesan and a Meat Lover’s version filled with pepperoni, ham, sausage, beef, bacon and cheese. All are served with a side dip of marinara, ranch or Buffalo sauce, depending on variety.

Six months later Pizza Hut introduced a limited-time Cheesesteak Melt filled with melted cheese, steak strips and pizza toppings, accompanied with a side of ranch for dipping. All the Melts are geared to solo diners and sell for $6.99 for two pieces, including the Cheeseburger Melt.

To promote the new Cheeseburger Melt, Pizza Hut is literally moving into fast-food burger territory and taking aim at the competition. The Yum Brands’ pizza chain is deploying delivery drivers to burger drive-thrus in cars with QR codes displayed on their back windows. Customers ordering at the drive-thrus can “scan for a better burger,” according to a statement. Those who scan will be entered to redeem a coupon for a free Cheeseburger Melt and soft drink while supplies last.

drive-thru

Pizza Hut is positioning cars in fast-food burger drive-thrus inviting customers to scan the QR code on the back window to score a free Cheeseburger Melt. | Photo courtesy of Pizza Hut.

Chicago and Miami are the only cities where this Pizza Hut promotion is happening—coincidentally the headquarters of the country’s fast-food burger giants: McDonald’s and Burger King.

“As a brand known for exceptional pizzas, venturing into the burger business is an exciting first for us,” said Lindsay Morgan, Pizza Hut’s CMO, in a statement. “We thought we'd kick off our burger journey with something bold. That's why we're making waves in burger chain drive-thrus, serving up our delicious new Cheeseburger Melt for all you burger lovers out there.”

Rachel Antalek, chief food innovation officer at Pizza Hut, commented on what sets this cheeseburger apart. “For the first time ever, we packed everything you know and love about a cheeseburger into our craveable Thin N' Crispy crust to develop the new Cheeseburger Melt. Unlike a traditional cheeseburger, the Cheeseburger Melt dips perfectly into what we would argue is the world’s best burger dipping sauce. We challenge you to find a better burger and sauce experience.

Like other fast-food brands, Pizza Hut is tapping into value to lure inflation-weary consumers. The Cheeseburger Melt is part of the new My Hut Box Offer that allows guests to choose between Melts or a two-topping Personal Pan Pizza, plus a side of fries or four boneless wings and a 20-ounce drink starting at $8.49, or a Cheeseburger Melt for $6.99 at participating Pizza Hut restaurants nationwide. 

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