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Fast Food Grocery What's New

Giant Stuffed Cheez-Its Just Dropped At Pizza Hut Locations Nationwide

Fast food mashups with beloved packaged food brands have dominated the space in 2019, with items like the Cheetos Sandwich and deep fried OREOs having taken the industry by storm. The latest chain/CPG collab, between Pizza Hut and Cheez-Its, is sure to only intensify the furor around these hybrids.

Photo courtesy of Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut’s newest item is the Cheez-It Pizza, which can be best described as a cross between a giant Cheez-It cracker and a calzone. The actual dough around the outside is infused with Cheez-Its’ signature flavor, and was designed to have a crispier texture to better emulate a cracker. The Cheez-Its are stuffed with cheese and an optional helping of pepperoni, served with a side of marinara sauce for dipping.

Photo: Elie Ayrouth // Foodbeast

This fusion of cheesy crackers and pizza will be available starting September 17th at all locations nationwide. You can order a pack of 4 with marinara for $6.49. On September 24th, it will also be added to Pizza Hut’s $5 N’ Up menu at a 50-cent discount.

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Fast Food Plant-Based

Pizza Hut Addresses Rumors That It’s Adding Vegan Cheese To Its US Locations

Pizza Hut has addressed rumors about adding vegan cheese to all of its locations nationwide in a statement given to Foodbeast.

Photo courtesy of Pizza Hut

The story began with the Vegan Herald, who first reported on an apparent e-mail exchange they had with the pizza giant. They announced that Pizza Hut had stated that they plan to have vegan cheese available in all locations across the USA this summer, with a target date set for August. Following that report, plant-based news sites across the internet ran similar stories on their own pages.

It certainly would have been a monumental move for the plant-based fast food movement. While vegan cheese is already available at chains like Blaze Pizza and Pieology, Pizza Hut would have easily become the biggest ‘za chain in the country to add their own plant-based variety. Since they already have it as a permanent option in the UK, it also is in line with what the company has been doing.

However, Pizza Hut shut down those rumors in a statement, telling Foodbeast that “while we’re proud of our dedicated vegan menu in the UK, the report is inaccurate and we have no plans at this time to carry vegan cheese at our US locations.”

Of course, this doesn’t mean Pizza Hut wouldn’t consider utilizing a vegan cheese in the US sometime soon. Considering how well plant-based foods are doing for chains like Burger King and Carl’s Jr., it also makes sense for somebody like Pizza Hut to be the next to enter that space.

Either way, it’s eyes front on Pizza Hut to see if and when they will ever bring a plant-based cheese substitute to the United States.

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#foodbeast Adventures Cravings Culture Fast Food FOODBEAST Restaurants Video

Pizza Hut China’s Durian Pizza Is A Unique Take On The Polarizing Fruit

During a recent trip to Suzhou, China, the Foodbeast crew had the unique pleasure of trying out some relatively uncommon pizza toppings at the local Pizza Hut. And by uncommon we mean stuff that’s truly unheard of: think durian and Peking duck serving as the tasty toppings on your pie.

The durian pizza alone already has enough wow factor by itself, being that the fruit is arguably the most polarizing out there with its notorious stench yet lauded flavor. What we experienced was a ‘za unlike any other with the durian providing a creamy, oniony essence and treating us to a particular and distinct flavor that we wholly enjoyed.

Peep the full experience in the video above to see just how singular this encounter really was inside this Chinese Pizza Hut. And for the curious, both items are regular staples on the Pizza Hut menu, so feel free to trek out and try them!

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Cravings Fast Food What's New

P’Zones Are Officially Coming Back To Pizza Hut Menus

If you’ve been waiting for P’Zones to return to Pizza Hut menus in the USA, your patience has finally paid off.

Photo courtesy of Pizza Hut

The cult-favorite take on the calzone is coming to menus nationwide starting today as a part of the chain’s March Madness Lineup. Three flavors of the cheesy dough-filled pockets will be available, including Pepperoni, Meaty, and Supremo. They’ll be served with marinara sauce for dipping.

For those wondering, P’Zones last came back to menus in 2011, when they stuck around for a bit before finally being discontinued. They’ve been on and off the menu since their debut in 2002.

For this release, you can expect the P’Zones to be available at least through the March Madness NCAA tournaments. Pizza Hut didn’t provide a more specific timeline than that, but also isn’t officially calling this a limited-time option. Thus, they could be around for the long haul afterward, so who knows?

P’Zones will be sold individually, but the Pepperoni version will also be part of Pizza Hut’s $5 Lineup as well as on the regular menu.

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Fast Food What's New

Pizza Hut’s New Vegan Pizza Is Loaded With JACKFRUIT

Photo courtesy of Pizza Hut UK

With each New Year comes the resolution to eat slightly healthier, which likely means cutting back on pizza toppings like pepperoni, bacon, and double sausage.

For those looking to avoid meat, Pizza Hut locations in the United Kingdom have launched a new vegan pizza they’re calling Vegan Jack ‘N’ Ch**se. Customers will find this pie topped with a vegan non-dairy alternative to cheese, tomato sauce, BBQ jackfruit, sweet corn, red onions, peppers, and a finish of BBQ drizzle.

The pizza is the newest edition to Pizza Hut’s vegan pie line, joining their Vegan Veggie and Vegan Margherita.

This may not be merely a seasonal addition, however, as Pizza Hut UK says they’ll make the item a permanent fixture on their menu if 10,000 vegan pizzas are sold by the end of their Veganuary (January) promotion.

Really wish Pizza Hut offered this here in the United States as a vegan option as well. Well-seasoned jackfruit is a delicious alternative for meat.

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Design Fast Food Technology

Pizza Hut Unveils Futuristic Truck That Makes Pizzas While On The Go

The top requirement for us when getting pizzas delivered is that they’re still piping hot upon arrival. Pizza Hut’s newest delivery model will drastically decrease that time by utilizing a truck that makes the pizzas for you while en route.

Photo courtesy of Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut just unveiled the high-tech pickup truck as a collab with Toyota at the 2018 Specialty Equipment Marketing Association Show (SEMA). The pickup itself is zero-emission, running on a hydrogen fuel electric cell that powers both the engine and the oven. In a press release, the company describes the vehicle concept almost like an Uber driver whose car makes the pizzas once the delivery is requested.

As soon as you put in an order, robots in the back of the pickup will take a pre-made “raw” pizza out of a fridge and insert it into an oven, baking it to perfection within 6-7 minutes. It’ll then be sliced up, placed into a box, and ready for you to grab once the truck pulls up to your location.

Photo courtesy of Pizza Hut

The idea is that this will sharply decrease driving times but also increase where a truck can deliver pizza, too. One truck can essentially service an entire area for hours on end without having to return back to a nearby restaurant. It’s only constraints would be the amount of pizzas it can carry and the need to recharge.

It’s unclear exactly when these pickups will be used for actual deliveries, since the one debuted at the show was a prototype. However, when it is unleashed to the public, it’ll definitely change the speed of pizza delivery as we know it.

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Fast Food Sweets What's New

Pizza Hut Now Has Cinnabon Mini Rolls As A Permanent Dessert Option

Cinnamon rolls regularly get attention over the years as different people learn that they apparently go well with chili. It makes sense, as the sweetness of the pastry and aroma of the cinnamon should pair well with the spices and flavors that are in the classic stew.

We see that interesting combination and raise you a different one: cinnamon rolls and pizza. Sounds strange at first, but the savory pizza has a lot going for it that could make it pair well with the classic baked good.

cinnabon mini rollsPhoto courtesy of Pizza Hut

That pairing can now be tested en masse thanks to Pizza Hut, who’s teamed up with Cinnabon for a new addition to their dessert menu. You are now able to order 10-packs of warm Cinnabon mini rolls as a sweet contrast to your hearty pizza orders.

While it may sound a little unconventional to have a traditional breakfast item for dessert, cinnamon rolls can play the role of both, and have already proven to be a great anytime treat that can pair well with savory eats.

Photo: Foodbeast // Constantine Spyrou

If you’re keen to try out this combo, it’s now on the permanent menu at Pizza Hut locations nationwide for $5.99. We’re thinking of trying this out with pepperoni first to get that sweet heat combo that cinnamon rolls and chili already has going for it.

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Culture Fast Food Opinion Restaurants

The Best Pizza Chains Across The USA, Ranked

Pizza is one of the most ubiquitous foods across the United States, and we’ve all got our favorites when it comes to the go-to pizza spot. Whether it be that hit of childhood nostalgia or the crave-worthy blend of crispy cheese, buttery crust, and hearty sauce, slices of pie transcend cultural and dietary divides. You can find curry-topped pizzas, vegan pizzas, cauliflower crust pizzas, and everything in between all across the country.

When it comes to the providers, though, the stalwarts of sauced-up dough still stand. Hundreds of pizza chains, big and small, bring the pie to the people today, and some have established themselves as THE joints that will go down in history as some of the USA’s best. This is a look at the 10 best chain pizza spots that have and will continue to shape the country’s pizza scene.

In picking the names for this list, chains with more than 20 locations were considered based on national impact, popularity, size, quality, and any unique contributions they had that changed the way we eat pizza. With the plethora of options to choose from, plenty of top names just barely missed the cut, whether they be industry giants or high-quality upstarts. However, each chain on this list has been a pillar of pizza for the United States, and will continue to be for years to come.

10. Papa Murphy’s

 

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Papa Murphy’s has always been the bridge between Domino’s and Tombstone. The take-and-bake king preps everything for you to heat the pizza up at home, with no concern about any long cryo-sleeps it may have had in a grocery store freezer. While it seems like the age of delivery may have people moving past this once-disruptor, it’s still one of the top 5 earning pizza sellers in the US and top 10 in terms of popularity. They may not be in the public eye as much as some of the bigger players, but they’re still an impactful force on America’s pizza scene.

9. Cici’s

 

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The OG pizza buffet, Cici’s is responsible for one of the most American concepts out there. While others like Round Table have added the buffet to their menus since, Cici’s remains the originator and continues upping their game with new pizzas, including a mac and cheese topped one, to boot. Outside of Chuck E. Cheese, I can’t think of a national pizza brand who’s getting as out-the-box as that in their pie toppings department.

8. Sbarro

 

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We all know Sbarro as the hallmark of food court pizza. Whether it be at the airport or shopping mall, seeing one of these is a guarantee of hot, familiar pizza that we can all get behind. Its ubiquity and place in the food court space is unparalleled, and while the shopping mall scene is on a decline these days, Sbarro still brings in $609 million in revenue per year, good enough for one of the top 10-selling pizza chains in the country.

7. Round Table Pizza

 

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Round Table has been for pizza what Umami Burger once was for the burger industry. The pizza parlor brought a heightened level of quality and uniqueness of flavor to their pies that forced everyone else to up their game and go beyond the standards. It’s the place you’re willing to pay a little more at to get a better pizza, and the results show in the dough and the creativity in the pies. Like In-N-Out, they may be West Coast predominant, but it’s a name that is recognizable nationwide.

6. Costco

 

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All of the previous pizza chains have been huge for the industry, but none are as prevalent and pervasive as the wholesale leader. Costco isn’t even a pizza restaurant, and yet, droves of customers come to the food court just to get their hands on the signature pizzas. The right amount of grease combined with a craveable cheese blend and extremely affordable price makes Costco stand out, and it’s why their pie is the one you’re likely finding at the club meeting or quick family get-together. They’re not ground-breaking, and they’re not a giant in the field, but you somehow still manage to think of Costco when a last-minute pizza option comes to mind.

5. Blaze Pizza

 

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Look out, pizza world, because in five years time, this Chipotle-like concept could blaze its way to the top of this list, pun intended. As the fastest growing pie-slinging chain in the country, Blaze’s unique approach of gourmet toppings, customization, and the build-your-own personal pizza has been perfected. Even the originators of the concept can’t keep up with Blaze’s speed as they continue to spread across the country. THIS is where the future of pizza is heading, and the field of competition is beginning to pay attention.

4. California Pizza Kitchen

 

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Those who create a brand new pizza flavor that becomes so popular that every joint in the country starts carrying it deserves a top spot on this list. CPK’s national impact with their BBQ Chicken Pizza has been well recorded, and their infatuation with hot pizza ovens and unique toppings made joints like Blaze possible. Without CPK, we wouldn’t have had the same excitement around the fiery pizza furnaces, and we wouldn’t be pushed to think outside the box on what can go on a pizza.

CPK’s not done, though, as they are now quickly become the leader for gluten-free pizza nationwide thanks to their cauliflower crusts. Decades after opening, they’re still finding ways to stay ahead of the curve, which is hard to do in an industry as vast as pizza.

3. Little Caesars

 

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When it comes to size, spread, and popularity, all of the previous spots ranked pale in comparison to the top 3. That’s especially considering that at $3.5 billion in revenue, Little Caesars is the small fry on this list’s medal podium. However, they are the name behind the $5 pizza and do the simplest variations as efficiently and quickly as possible. With their recent moves toward automation, they’re also proving that they have the potential to catch up to the two giants at the top of this list. You’re never going to see anything really crazy come out of Little Caesars’ menu, but that’s because they don’t need it to be successful or competitive.

2. Pizza Hut

 

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The most shocking thing about Pizza Hut as the runner-up as that it’s not number one on this list. You’d think that The Hut has it all: savvy and trending ad campaigns, cool merch and activations, tons of deals that seem to never stop, and a pretty decent pie. Oh, and they also just took over the role of the NFL’s official ‘za.

Pizza Hut may be a powerhouse in terms of size, but what kills them is their popularity. Little Caesars has been ranked by consumers as more popular than the mega-chain, and The Hut is five times larger. Just because you have more locations and make more money than nearly everybody else doesn’t give you the top spot.

1. Domino’s

 

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What does make you America’s mega-pizza gold standard, though, is being the top pizza chain in both size and popularity. As of 2018, Domino’s is both, having surpassed Pizza Hut in revenue and popularity. They have the deals, growth rate, and quality to keep up with or surpass their staunchest rival in every category, and now have the earnings to back all of that up.

Plus, Domino’s has made itself the leader in delivery by going beyond the building. Their app lets you get your pie at tons of different parks or public areas, something that the rest of the major players in the industry struggle at. They’re even doing good for the local communities and paving the roads, which is one of the most ingenious ad campaigns a delivery company could think of. All of that has given Domino’s the ability to not just take over as the king of American pizza, but to sustain that title for years to come.


Featured Image: Foodbeast // Peter Pham.