Six Interesting Facts About Pizza Hut

It's the most popular fast food pizza chain in the world, operating in more than 100 countries, and even expanding all the way into outer space. Pizza Hut has been going strong for over fifty years, and its history has been a long and storied one. 

The First Functional Pizza Hut is Still Operating

The first Pizza Hut was created over half a century ago. In 1958, two brothers, frank and Dan Carney, then students at Wichita State University in Kansas, borrowed $600 from their mother and opened the first Pizza Hut in downtown Wichita, which was eventually moved to the university’s campus. As everyone knows, they branched out and became one of the largest chain pizza restaurants in the world. What many don’t know is that the very first store is still open and operational, slinging pies using the now well-known traditional recipe that made Pizza Hut a force to be reckoned with. The first franchise was opened in 1959 in Topeka, Kansas.

The Most Successful Pizza Hut isn’t Located on US Soil

Given the popularity of pizza in the United States (you only have to look at rising obesity rates to confirm this), you would think that the most successful Pizza Hut - in terms of amount sold per day - would be on US soil, but you would be wrong. It’s actually in Moscow, and it sells upwards of $6,500 in pizza, pasta, breadsticks, and drinks a day. That’s a lot of pizza!

Pizza Hut Leads in Cheese

Pizza Hut is one of the largest users of cheese in the world. It is estimated that one summer will Pizza hut use 100 million pounds of cheese, with each year seeing an estimated 300 million pounds used. This accounts for approximately 3% of all cheese production in the United States. That number alone requires about 170 million dairy cows to produce that much cheese.

Pizza Hut Loves the Celebrities

Pizza Hut has used a number of celebrities in their televised advertisements. In 1995, Ringo Starr, the drummer for the Beatles, jammed with the Monkees for a commercial, while former president of the USSR made an appearance in a 1997 commercial. Back before he was Frodo in “Lord of the Rings,” actor Elijah Wood starred in a Pizza Hut commercial advertising their new Double Cheeseburger Pizza.

Pizza Hut Goes to Space

In 2001, Pizza Hut sponsored a pizza delivery to the International Space Station. After rigorous testing to ensure the pizza would make it to space without being effectively destroyed, a small, 6” pizza (about the size of a pan pizza so it could fit in an oven aboard the ISS), topped with salami, sauce, and cheese was delivered to the astronauts aboard.

This is a good sign for the future of space tourism, as one can imagine that calling out for pizza might be difficult when floating through space. Pizza Hut was also the first pizza restaurant to advertise in space, affixing their logo to the side of the world’s largest proton rocket. This was just one part of their massive international branding campaign back in 2000.

Pizza Hut Wants Kids to Read

As a young kid in grade school, you no doubt were familiar with the Book It! reading incentive program. Since its inception in 1985, the program offered kids a chance to win a free personal pan pizza if they read a set number of books (usually decided by the teacher) in any given month between October and March. The classroom that read the most book during those months won a free pizza party sponsored by Pizza Hut.

Pizza Hut has been a sponsor since the program was started, and save for being cancelled in Australia in 2002 due to a lack of interest in dining in, it has been going strong ever since.

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Posted on July 10, 2012 at 9:00 AM