Pizza Hut is testing out a lighter pizza in two U.S. markets as it seeks to freshen up its menu and regain its footing against competitors.
"I think you'll all agree that the new Pizza Hut Nothin' is the magic bullet that will save our mediocre franchise from the far superior alternatives that have been devastating our market share. If you have any questions, I'll be in the restroom, sobbing."
The tests of the "Skinny Slice" pies began this week at several dozen restaurants in Toledo, Ohio, and West Palm Beach, Florida.
As usual the non-Spanish Toledo is right at the cutting edge of exciting new trends that absolutely reek of desperation and "Me too!" bandwagonism long after the point where it would have actually made a difference. And there's Florida, too, I guess.
The pies simply use less of the same dough used for regular pies and are lighter on the toppings, said Doug Terfehr, a Pizza Hut spokesman.
By the time you figure out this is a "pay more, get less" shuck that really won't help with fitness or weight loss goals I'll be safely in a country that doesn't extradite.
Several fast-food and restaurant chains have turned to lighter offerings over the years as a way to update their images, with varying degrees of success.
Still better than "Extreme Marketing," you can at least say that.
Burger King, for instance, recently said the majority of its U.S. restaurants would stop offering lower-calorie french fries less than a year after the so-called "Satisfries" were introduced.
They were replaced with the standard high calorie freedom fries, the so-called "Pacifries."
The test by Pizza Hut comes as the chain fights to win back market share. Last year, Pizza Hut sales fell 2 percent at U.S. locations open at least a year. Domino's, by contrast, saw the figure rise 5.4 percent while Papa John's saw sales rise 4 percent in North America.
Two percent might not seem like a lot, but that is private industry we're talking about, not our government.
Darren Tristano, a restaurant analyst with industry tracker Technomic, noted that Pizza Hut may be suffering in part because it's the biggest player and has the most to lose at a time when the pizza business overall is seeing moderate growth of about 2 percent to 3 percent a year.
The dismal science, it's amazing! Obviously in a time of moderate growth the "biggest player" would stand to lose. It just makes logical sense. Hey, let's print more money to cover budget shortfalls!
But he also noted that the chain has failed to "evolve its product," while Papa John's has played up its quality and Domino's improved its pizza.
The New Domino's: Tastes Less Like an Old Tire Than Ever!
"Gimme ten of them Skinny Pizzas."
Pizza Hut is owned by Yum Brands Inc., which also owns Taco Bell and KFC.
Good old "Yum Brands," formerly Hitlertech Chemicals and Germ Warfare.
Pizza Hut also rolled out "Fit n' Delicious" pies more than a decade ago that had even fewer calories than the new Skinny Slice pies by going lighter on toppings.
After several locations were burned to the ground that particular "pie" was discontinued.
Also, we need another word for pizza that isn't "pie," because I'm sure the editor that decided to take a five day weekend rather than check this article would have had issues with this. Maybe "Eye-talian Circle Food" or "Man, My Left Arm is Tingling."
If the test proves successful, the Skinny Slice pies would replace the Fit N' Delicious pies, which are still available on request, Terfehr said in an email.
This request must be made in writing, submitted six months in advance and be approved by one of your State Senators.
During the Atkins craze, Domino's also tested a whole wheat crust but ultimately abandoned the idea.
Maybe there's some sort of lesson there. Naw, probably not. Still, food for thought.
Aaron Zehner is the author of "Posts from the Underground," now available in paperback and e-book. Read free excerpts here and here.
His first novel "The Foolchild Invention" is also available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.