A Pizza Hut Restaurant in Tamworth, country NSW, in the 1970s. Picture: Supplied
A Pizza Hut Restaurant in Tamworth, country NSW, in the 1970s. Picture: Supplied

How Pizza Hut has changed in 60 years

PIZZA Hut may be turning 60 this year - but it hasn't forgotten its roots.

The fast food chain is celebrating its massive milestone in Australia with a national giveaway of 18,000 free pizzas today and tomorrow, featuring one of its most popular toppings to date.

60 large Pan Super Supreme pizzas will be given away across all of their 292 stores, and the first 30 people to line up from midday will get one free.

In conjunction with the national giveaway, it is also walking down memory lane to look back at how Pizza Hut has changed.

Pizza Hut's Head of Corporate Affairs Joanne Moss told News Corp Australia that they are considering bringing back some of their menu items that have the chain's "heritage" attached to them.

"Never say never, we know our customers have a fondness for the older stuff," she said.

"It just depends on the demand and love from consumers. That nostalgia makes us one of the most recognised brands in Australia."

HOW IT ALL BEGAN

Pizza Hut was first started by two Wichita State University students, brothers Dan and Frank Carney in 1958.

With $600, they named their restaurant Pizza Hut and in a decade, it grew to 310 restaurants, with more than a thousand by 1972.

The Original Pizza Hut building in Kansas on the Wichita State University campus. It has now been turned into a Pizza Hut Museum. Picture: Supplied
The Original Pizza Hut building in Kansas on the Wichita State University campus. It has now been turned into a Pizza Hut Museum. Picture: Supplied

Their original restaurant still stands today on the university campus and has been turned into a museum where fans can come and look at incredible memorabilia from the store.

 

 

The original logo featured a cartoon character known as Pizza Pete. He featured heavily across the restaurants' signage and on its menus.

One of the first Pizza Hut signs from a restaurant in 1978. Picture: Supplied
One of the first Pizza Hut signs from a restaurant in 1978. Picture: Supplied

 

 

Pizza Hut Pete in one of the first logos seen by customers. Picture: Supplied
Pizza Hut Pete in one of the first logos seen by customers. Picture: Supplied

 

By 1976, Pizza Hut had more than 2000 stores including 100 international stores in England, Japan and Australia. The first store was in the Sydney suburb of Belfield in 1970.

Today, Pizza Hut has around 13,000 restaurants in 130 countries.

AUSTRALIA'S PIZZA HUT GROWTH

Australia's first Pizza Hut restaurant in Belfield, NSW. Picture: Supplied
Australia's first Pizza Hut restaurant in Belfield, NSW. Picture: Supplied

In Australia, Ms Moss told News Corp that Pizza Hut still has a limited number of "red roof" restaurants operating Ballarat, Shepparton and Bendigo in Victoria, Browns Plains, Gympie, Toowoomba, Willows and Kirra in Queensland, Lake Haven, Minto, Orange and Windsor in NSW, Marion in South Australia and New Town in Tasmania.

 

 

Pizza Hut in Ballarat, Victoria. Picture: Supplied/Trip Advisor
Pizza Hut in Ballarat, Victoria. Picture: Supplied/Trip Advisor

 

 

Archived photographs reveal the old restaurant logo and vast scale of the once beloved Pizza Hut restaurants across the country.

 

A Pizz Hut restaurant in Petersham in Sydney's inner west in the late 1970s. Picture: Supplied
A Pizz Hut restaurant in Petersham in Sydney's inner west in the late 1970s. Picture: Supplied

 

A Pizza Hut Restaurant in Tamworth, country NSW, in the 1970s. Picture: Supplied
A Pizza Hut Restaurant in Tamworth, country NSW, in the 1970s. Picture: Supplied

 

 

The interior of a Pizza Hut restaurant in Toowoomba, QLD, in the 1970s. Picture: Supplied
The interior of a Pizza Hut restaurant in Toowoomba, QLD, in the 1970s. Picture: Supplied

 

 

An older Pizza Hut restaurant in Braddon, ACT. Picture: Supplied
An older Pizza Hut restaurant in Braddon, ACT. Picture: Supplied

 

But by 1985, they began to look at a new delivery model, and Ms Moss said they started to create "takeaway kiosk" stores to meet the need for customers looking for more convenience.

 

An older Pizza Hut store in North Balwyn, Victoria. Picture: Supplied
An older Pizza Hut store in North Balwyn, Victoria. Picture: Supplied

 

The entrance to the restaurant in North Balwyn, Victoria. Picture: Supplied
The entrance to the restaurant in North Balwyn, Victoria. Picture: Supplied

"We then looked at the casual dining experience that guests wanted, and we created 50 restaurants that allow guests to not just order and pick up, but come in and dine," Ms Moss said.

"We have these more modern dine-in restaurants in places like Coolalinga in the Northern Territory, Waterloo and Marsden Park in Sydney.

The new-look Pizza Hut restaurant in Coolalinga in the NT. Picture: Supplied
The new-look Pizza Hut restaurant in Coolalinga in the NT. Picture: Supplied

"The Pizza Hut at Marsden Park for example has a jukebox and popcorn machine in it as a flashback to the past."

Then later created Pizza Hut's express stores to fit into shopping centres.

The new style jukebox at Pizza Hut Marsden Park. Picture: Supplied
The new style jukebox at Pizza Hut Marsden Park. Picture: Supplied

PIZZA HUT'S INNOVATIVE MENU

For diehard fans who loved to dine in, Pizza Hut was most well known for The Works which began in the 1980s - an all you can eat dining experience that featured pizzas, salads and a dessert bar.

 

Ms Moss said they were the first fast food chain to invent the famous Bigfoot Pizza that went global.

 

 

They also created the Stuffed Crust Pizza, that was also sold worldwide.

 

Stuffed crust pepperoni pizza from Pizza Hut. Picture: Supplied
Stuffed crust pepperoni pizza from Pizza Hut. Picture: Supplied

The crust was filled with cheese, and later, they experimented with other fillings like the Hot Dog Stuffed Crust, the Cheeseburger Crust and the Vegemite Pizza also had its own stuffed crust.

 

The short-lived Hot Dog Stuffed Crust Pizza. Picture: Supplied
The short-lived Hot Dog Stuffed Crust Pizza. Picture: Supplied

 

The Pizza Hut topping that featured a Cheeseburger crust. Picture: Supplied
The Pizza Hut topping that featured a Cheeseburger crust. Picture: Supplied

 

The Pizza Hut Vegemite Pizza. Picture: Supplied
The Pizza Hut Vegemite Pizza. Picture: Supplied

 

Of all the toppings they have ever sold, Ms Moss said that the most popular toppings to date include the Super Supreme, Hawaiian, Pepperoni Lovers and BBQ Meatlovers.

 

 

Pizza Hut’s Super Supreme Pizza, which is being given away for free today and tomorrow. Picture: Supplied
Pizza Hut’s Super Supreme Pizza, which is being given away for free today and tomorrow. Picture: Supplied

 

 

Pizza Hut’s Pepperoni Lovers Thin n' Crispy pizza. Picture: Supplied
Pizza Hut’s Pepperoni Lovers Thin n' Crispy pizza. Picture: Supplied

 

 

Isabella Power, 9, enjoys a Hawaiian pizza at Pizza Hut in Marsden Park. Picture: AAP
Isabella Power, 9, enjoys a Hawaiian pizza at Pizza Hut in Marsden Park. Picture: AAP

 

Pizza Hut BBQ Meatlovers stuffed crust pizza. Picture: Supplied
Pizza Hut BBQ Meatlovers stuffed crust pizza. Picture: Supplied

 

FAMOUS PIZZA HUT AD CAMPAIGNS

Pizza Hut has had many iconic TV ad campaigns in the 1980s and 1990s. Among them was a group of hospital patients singing for their Pizza Hut meal from their hospital beds that starred Hey Dad! actor Ben Oxenbould.

 

 

Another involved the character of 'Dougie', the Pizza Hut delivery boy played by Australian actor Diarmid Heidenreich.

 

Pizza Hut Restaurant TV commercial featuring actor Diarmid Heidenreich (aka Dougie). Picture: Supplied
Pizza Hut Restaurant TV commercial featuring actor Diarmid Heidenreich (aka Dougie). Picture: Supplied

Heidenreich also did ads alongside Tim Shaw when he was doing commercials for Demtel products, and former Melrose Place star Andrew Shue, who played Billy.

 

 

Heidenreich ended up losing the gig and served 77 weekends of periodic detention in Parramatta Jail for a drug and alcohol-fuelled car smash that left a girlfriend in hospital back in 1996.

But he later went on to a steady career in TV where he had roles in shows including Home And Away, Water Rats, McLeod's Daughters, Underbelly and Packed to the Rafters.

Former Demtel salesman Tim Shaw with Diarmid Heidenreich, known as 'Dougie' in Pizza Hut advertisements. Picture: Supplied
Former Demtel salesman Tim Shaw with Diarmid Heidenreich, known as 'Dougie' in Pizza Hut advertisements. Picture: Supplied

 

A flyer from Pizza Hut in years gone by. Picture: Supplied
A flyer from Pizza Hut in years gone by. Picture: Supplied

Just last year, they ran a Pizza Hut in July campaign where they promoted a new topping of Smoky Ham Hawaiian for a limited time.

 

 

 

A MORE MODERN LOOK FOR STAFF

The Pizza Hut of today is looking for a more "broad appeal", Ms Moss said that they want to meet the needs of customers including millenials who are interested in the brand, and families who are looking for something wholesome and quick. They are also keen to look after their "diehard fans" who have been dining with them from 20-30 years ago.

Aside from the restaurants and menus changing, staff uniforms also had a makeover.

 

 

The old Pizza Hut uniform worn by staff in the 1970s. Picture: Supplied
The old Pizza Hut uniform worn by staff in the 1970s. Picture: Supplied

These days, staff have ditched the red and whitre checked shirt in favour of a blue denim-coloured shirt at their casual dining eateries.

The new Pizza Hut uniform worn by staff. Here it is worn by a staff member at Pizza Hut in Waterloo, Sydney. Picture: Supplied
The new Pizza Hut uniform worn by staff. Here it is worn by a staff member at Pizza Hut in Waterloo, Sydney. Picture: Supplied

Ms Moss said Pizza Hut still has staff that have been with the chain for decades.

"We have employees that have been with the brand for decades - we have a strong culture of promoting from within and have many employees that started as kitchen hands/drivers and are now senior managers," she said.

 

 

The updated logo featuring Pizza Pete. Picture: Supplied
The updated logo featuring Pizza Pete. Picture: Supplied


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