Pizza Hut knows that hot pizza and cold beer is a great combination, so the chain wants to bring both items to your front door.
Pizza Hut on Tuesday started testing beer delivery in Phoenix and intends to add wine in January. It hopes to expand alcohol delivery to other markets next year.
The pizza chain, owned by Yum Brands, already offers beer and wine at many of its locations, so the delivery option was a natural extension, said Stacy Lynn Bourgeois, director of brand marketing for Pizza Hut.
Phoenix was selected as the test market because it already had locations that served beer and wine and is in an area that consistently mimics customer behavior patterns seen nationwide, Bourgeois said.
Customers will be able to order six-packs of Budweiser, Bud Light, Shocktop and a local craft beer. As the program expands, Pizza Hut will tailor its selections to each geographic area, Bourgeois said.
The beer will arrive cold in a specially designed cooler, and drivers will check IDs to ensure the purchaser is over 21.
The decision to add alcohol comes as Pizza Hut looks to distinguish itself from its competitors. The pizza chain has been a major drag on Yum Brands' earnings, so much so that some analysts have suggested that executives divest the brand.
Strong delivery sales are key for Pizza Hut as competition in the pizza segment has stiffened and more restaurants outside the group begin to deliver. In addition, Pizza Hut has typically split its sales between delivery and in-store dining.
Annual Technomic data released in May showed that Pizza Hut's share of the pizza category declined from 25 percent in 1995 to just 14.3 percent in 2016.
The gap between Pizza Hut's share and its closest competitor, Domino's, was less than 1 percent, with Domino's holding onto 13.6 percent of the sales in the market last year.
Domino's has had 22-consecutive quarters of positive growth in the U.S. and has been taking share not only from national chains like Pizza Hut but also regional and independent locations.
In April, Yum invested $130 million into Pizza Hut in an effort to upgrade equipment, improve technology and bolster its advertising.
Pizza Hut has since launched a loyalty program, made plans to hire 14,000 delivery drivers by the end of this year and has revamped its pizza boxes to keep their product hotter for delivery.