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Pizza Hut tests a cubby-based pickup concept

The concept in Los Angeles features specially lined cubbies with digital displays for pickup orders.
Photograph courtesy of Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut’s newest remodel is not aimed at delivery customers.

The pizza chain, through one of its operators, recently remodeled a location in Los Angeles’ Hollywood neighborhood to bolster its pickup business.

The location features a dozen cubbies with digital screens. Customers can place an order and pay through any channel, either on the mobile app, online, by phone or in the store.

The food is then stored in one of the cubbies, and customers tap twice on the screen to retrieve their order.

The cubbies’ digital displays feature customers’ names to reduce order confusion and are designed with special lining to keep food hot or cold.

The location, on Sunset Boulevard, opened Tuesday. The company said that it is focused on the pilot test and will be working with what it calls “completely frictionless storefronts” in more West Coast cities in the first half of next year.

The concept is targeted at “city-dwellers in more densely populated areas,” the company said in an email.

Pizza Hut's carryout cubbies

The test comes as more pizza chains expand their focus to improving in-store pickup. Pizza Hut rival Domino’s has generated strong growth in recent years by remodeling stores in part to target more pickup orders. And its fortressing strategy is also designed partly to get at customers who would rather get their own pizzas.

Little Caesars, the nation’s third-largest pizza chain, has started adding heated Pizza Portals aimed at customers who order on the chain’s mobile app.

The stakes are fairly high for Pizza Hut, which has struggled with weak sales, closing locations, struggling franchisees and a difficult shift in assets from dine-in to takeout.

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