Last year, Pizza Hut announced what was billed as the biggest brand overhaul in company history. To appeal to millennials, the brand changed its menu to include gourmet customizing options like Peruvian cherry peppers, toasted Asiago crust, and honey Sriracha sauce.
Sales have continued to slump since the turnaround. "We obviously have not been happy with the performance of the relaunch of Pizza Hut," Greg Creed, CEO of parent company Yum Brands, told investors at a conference covered by Nation's Restaurant News.
Creed says the pizza chain's lackluster performance comes down to one mistake: focusing too much on millennials, who supposedly prefer fresh food and customizable options offered by restaurants such as Shake Shack and Chipotle.
But marketing to this group didn't help Pizza Hut. "Unfortunately, we haven't been as effective as we've liked with our marketing and need to balance its appeal to millennials with mainstream pizza customers," Creed said.
To win back older customers and families, Pizza Hut is offering aggressive deals on pizza. The pizza retailer isn't the first major chain to get stuck on millennials.
McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook said McDonald's had mistakenly targeted millennials in its advertisements as if they were one homogeneous group. Going forward, the company will engage in "less sweeping talk of millennials as if they are one single group with shared attitudes," he said.
See also: The Top 50 Brands For Millennials