- Just in time for the Super Bowl, Pizza Hut will deliver beer from nearly 300 restaurants in seven states with plans to reach 1,000 locations by this summer, according to a press release.
- The Yum Brands chain had been testing delivery in Arizona since December 2017 and in California since the spring of 2018, and will add more locations in those states as well as in Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, North Carolina and Ohio.
- Customers can choose 2-packs and 6-packs costing $3 to $10.99 of major beer brands including Bud Light, Miller High Life, Stella Artois and Corona Extra, Nation’s Restaurant News reported. After ordering through the Pizza Hut app, online or via phone, customers must provide valid photo ID and complete an informational form.
If all goes according to plan, the forthcoming 1,000 beer delivery spots will supplement beer and wine service for dine-in customers at 1,500-plus restaurants. Needless to say, the timing couldn't be better as the lagging Yum Brands chain enjoys its first Super Bowl as official sponsor. Despite the expansion to five additional states, though, the program will only be available at less than 0.5% of the chain’s 7,500 U.S. locations, so it might not make much of a dent.
This initiative might also be part of a larger push to inform consumers that Pizza Hut does indeed deliver. According to Nation's Restaurant News, CEO Greg Creed said legacy red-roof restaurants have confused customers into thinking they don't deliver pizza — let alone beer. But Yum has worked to shift that perception through its mobile app.
To kick off football season last September, for instance, Pizza Hut offered customers a free pizza if they signed up for its rewards program and ordered at least $10, CNBC reported. The app also lets fans customize their profiles with a favorite NFL team to receive special deals on game day.
Other quick-service and fast-casual chains, from Shake Shack to Chipotle, have tried their hand at in-house alcohol programs. Yum Brands’ Taco Bell offers wine and beer at 3,500 locations, plus margaritas and other frozen mixed drinks at some of its more upscale cantinas, according to USA Today.
The markup on alcohol can provide a much-needed boost to sales and ticket averages without relying on increased traffic, but it hasn't really permeated the fast food industry. Booze accounts for less than 0.5% of fast-food sales, or $1.4 billion in 2016, per data from Technomic. Burger King dabbled in bars, for example, but now only runs a couple Whopper Bars, according to USA Today. Starbucks also halted its evening wine and beer program in early 2017.
Delivery, of course, proffers a different demographic with different tastes and demands. Buffalo Wild Wings delivers beer from 19 restaurants, accounting for 60% of all alcohol sales at those locations. TGI Friday's and BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse have been slowly adding alcohol delivery since late 2017, according to Food Newsfeed. On Grubhub, some restaurants in two cities — New York City and Chicago — sell alcohol for delivery, which might reflect the challenges restaurants face with disparate state and local laws. Last January, Pizza Hut told Restaurant Business that its service benefited from company delivery drivers trained to check IDs and understand protocols.