Category Archives: Special Offer

Pizza Hut Flavors of the World

Pizza Hut’s Flavor of the World theme is the newest Pizza Hut campaign to hit Karachi. Pizza Hut is offering four different flavors from four different countries under the Flavor of the World theme:

  1. Pesto Italiano- Italy,
  2. Sour Cream and Onion – France,
  3. Mega Pepperoni and Mushroom- America,
  4. Shanghai Chicken – China.

We tested two of the flavors – Pesto Italiano and Sour Cream & Onion. Price-wise they are the same as any other pizza on the menu.

Taste-wise as well, they’re not much different from the usual offering of Pizza Hut.

Pesto Italiano was scrumptious with pesto being used as the base instead of the usual pizza sauce. Pesto is a sauce consisting of usually fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, and grated cheese.

Dikirim oleh Restaurants Uncut pada 19 November 2011

The sour cream and onion was a bit disappointing. And it wasn’t because of mediocre taste. It wasn’t up to the mark because the sour cream and onion which it was supposed to be having by virtue of its name was overshadowed by the addition of sweet corn. Or maybe it didn’t have the required sour cream and onion essence to begin with. We will never know.

Sweet corn in itself is not a bad choice for an ingredient but in this case it proved to be a damper.

The topping on both the pizzas was refreshingly substantial. In fact it would be fair to say that the topping was literally overflowing. It was that good. In fact the best we’ve ever experienced at Pizza Hut.

Overall both the pizzas tasted like any other pizza of Pizza Hut with minor variation. You can’t say the pizzas were different altogether, something you’ve never had before at Pizza Hut.

To set the record straight, we had complained to the floor manager beforehand about the meager toppings that we have encountered on previous visits.

Try Flavors of the World theme by Pizza Hut with a low expectation of uniqueness, because in spite of having a tantalizing taste, it is in fact very much what you’ve been having at Pizza Hut.

Pizza Hut’s Happy Hour Deal

Pizza hut has finally decided to follow Subway’s brilliant strategy of offering discount deals during the day’s slowest business hours. While Subway started offering the deal between 2 and 4 on Sundays and then extending it to all days, Pizza Hut has timed it between 4 and 7pm.

When it comes to value for money,  Subway is the winner by far.  While Subway offered buy one get one free deal for 6 inch subs, pizza hut’s deal just offers free drinks with their regular pizzas- nothing else. But that did not deter people from having a go at the deals.

That’s the thing about deals. Consumers in this part of the world just love going after everything that has the deal tag attached to it.

This time around we checked the Nazimabad outlet adjacent to Dilpasand near A.O Clock Tower. It is by far one of the biggest pizza hut outlets in Karachi.

The drinks have always been a sore point for pizza hut and this time was no different. We chose ‘white’ and it tasted like the liquid version of lemon strepsils. It was neither 7up nor Sprite.

One thing worth appreciating about pizza hut is the flexibility they offer besides the menu. Or maybe it was this particular waiter who offered us this option. In any case, we chose the large pizza deal and were allowed the choice of having half of the pizza as chicken supreme and the other half beef supreme. The stated price of the deal is Rs.645 which includes a large pizza and a pitcher of soft drink, but with GST it comes out to be around Rs.750. The deal is good enough for two people only.

Remember the time when pizza hut used to leave the corners as barren land? Well, it seems with a large dose of consumer bashing that has changed at least at this outlet. Check out the pictures yourself to see the difference. The topping has dramatically improved.edges covered in beef supreme

Beef supreme loaded

chicken n beef supremeThere is however one problem that pizza hut will need to fix. The meat had a smell, both chicken and beef. Now this is the first time that we’ve experienced such a problem at pizza hut and the grapevine has it that this particular outlet is guilty of this offence on more than one occasion.

So what could be the reason for foul-smelling meat? It’s not that the meat was under-cooked. All the other ingredients were baked to perfection. So who is the culprit?

When it comes to chicken especially, there’s only one instance when it smells, and that is when it has been kept for quite some time. It does not matter if it has been frozen properly. Chicken will always smell if it has been stored for long, unless it is marinated excessively with strong condiments.

Beef on the other hand has a distinct smell and taste of its own which gets stronger with the passage of time. So pizza hut will have to be very careful as to when that quality gets too strong for the consumer’s taste. The lesson for pizza hut is to avoid keeping a large inventory of perishable items.

We also tried the potato wedges and potato skins which are not part of the deal. Subway beats Pizza Hut in the case of wedges as well. Even Roasters’ potato wedges offered with their breakfast deals are better than Pizza Hut’s.

The potato skins are an unique item and not something you would find anywhere else. They could have been great had the garlic sauce served with them prepared properly. Both the potato wedges and skins cost Rs.75, and the quantity you can judge for yourself from the snapshots.

Overall, pizza hut’s deal is alright. Just don’t expect any great value addition from their regular menu.

Nando’s ‘Sharing is Caring’ Deal

Nandos new ‘Sharing is Caring’ deal supposed to have the ‘best family value’ is essentially a publicity stunt to hook more people on to its flagship product – peri peri chicken. Not a bad idea in itself. Both KFC and Pizza Hut have captured a huge chunk of the Pakistani market using precisely these tactics.

Whether it’s going to hit off with the consumer is too early to say, but this much is certain- it cannot compete with the likes of Espetada Rustica. There are many reasons for that, the biggest being there’s no story wrapped around this brand like it was in Espetada Rustica. There’s no talk of Christopher Columbus having an affinity for this exotic dish while on his daring adventures, no unique presentation of the dish like the strange hook-style skewer, even the ad is pretty straight forward devoid of any humor or even the Portuguese accent like in the previous ad.

Then there’s the pricing. At Rs.1160 (Rs.999 +GST), the deal’s a bit on the expensive side. But that’s not the problem. The problem is that the creators of the deal have  indicated that the deal is four people but when you actually see the deal, it’s sufficient for only three adults. Let’s say that the family Nando’s is talking about comprising of a couple and their two children. Even then it won’t be enough for this small family. They’ll just have to order something else or go elsewhere.

What exactly does the deal comprise of? A ‘full’ chicken, four Portuguese buns, four sidelines (either fries or coleslaw only) and four drinks. The biggest misleading word is ‘full’ here. When you see the price coupled with this word ‘full’, the image that would conjure up in any consumer’s mind would be a succulently fat chicken enough to satiate the appetite of four people.

But when the ‘full’ chicken is actually placed in front of you, you wonder whether the chicken was imported from the impoverished lands of Africa. There are four pieces of grilled chicken and that must have belonged to a starving hen. The fries and coleslaw are alright both quantity and quality wise. The Portuguese buns, however, are a problem again. If you haven’t tasted them before, you would expect something along the lines of Focaccia  bread. But when you actually dig into these buns, you feel….. nothing. It’s just ordinary bread baked in a unique shape. What’s more, its completely dry and there’s no butter or dip or anything to go with the buns. Unless of course you want to dip the buns in the peri peri sauces. We tried, but the experience wasn’t good.

Taste-wise the whole deal is not bad but it’s not remarkable either. Either Nando’s should have kept the price low, the quantity high or if they didn’t want to change either of these two factors, they should have built up some hype around it like they did with Espetada Rustica.

Maybe Nando’s people have got into their head that it’s their core product that sells and not the brand. If that is their line of thinking, then they are in for some rude awakening. The truth of the matter is that their grilled chicken tastes pretty much what a grilled chicken tastes like at any upscale local restaurant. There’s no remarkable differentiation akin to KFC or even Pizza Hut’s USP. Nando’s brilliant branding and sales promotional tactics, specifically the tongue-in-cheek humor in their advertising is largely to account for the 6% share it holds in the Pakistani market. Strip away all the branding, and Nando’s wouldn’t be able to hold on to even this measly 6%. And that brilliance was sadly missing in this case.

Although Nando’s core competency the world over is its numerous sauces, in this part of the world they haven’t been able to enthrall the local populace.

So how can they go beyond the mundane and challenge the leaders? Follow what they did with Espetada Rustica. Weave a story around whatever the hell they are offering. Maybe a king used to love this mode of grilling chicken in the 10th century. How about Robin Hood’s culinary delight? Anything that catches the fancy of the target market. A unique style of presenting the deal would be extremely useful, after all packaging is an integral part of branding. And then present a clear positioning of the meal and price it according to that positioning. If the deal is just to scintillate the olfactory buds of the consumer and not satiate his appetite, this ought to be communicated.

Nando’s really has a tremendous opportunity of capturing a sizeable chunk of the Pakistani market especially since people already love having grilled chicken. What it needs to do is come up with attractive deals that offer the biggest bang for buck instead of merely teasing the consumer’s appetite.

Nandos consumerater
Nandos consumerater

Nandos Scores Big with Espetada Rustica

We have always been a fan of Nandos’ marketing endeavors, not just their tongue-in-cheek humorous print ads reflecting the prevailing conditions (headed by the creative department of Adcom), but also their in-house branding efforts. The way they have woven stories seamlessly into their ambiance, something which the other franchises have utterly failed to do in spite of having a long and rich tradition themselves, speaks volumes for the ingenuity of their marketing department.

However, I have never been a fan of their food. Nine times out of ten, I have come out a disappointed customer. I would have thought I  was the odd man out until I saw the share of the Pakistani market that Nandos has as found out by Aurora in their December issue – a meager 6%, which just goes on to show I’m not the only one not satisfied with their offering.

A case can be made in their favor that Subway as well has only a 6% share although it has far more outlets than Nandos. To set the record straight, Nandos has just three in the entire metropolis of Karachi. But then, it could have deliberately kept the outlets low because it expect demand for more.

When it comes to aggressive sales promotion and pricing, Subway wins against Nandos hands down. Although Subway doesn’t come up with new innovative dishes likes Nandos does, what it does do is put a clever spin on its lone offering at a price that is unbeatable. Put another way, the amount of stuff you can have at a particular price at Subway wouldn’t fulfill you at all at Nandos.

That brings us to their new marketing toy- the Espetada Rustica. If you strip away the hype, there’s nothing to it- just five pieces of tender grilled chicken served with baked vegetables, a bun and butter sauce. But the way it is presented in that unique vertically inclined skewer and the story to go with it that Christopher Columbus was addicted to this on his New World Adventures. Now the late discoverer of America may never even have heard or seen this dish, let alone be addicted to it, but such is the power of storytelling in branding that this delicacy has become the darling of the consumers. I can’t think of a time before when the consumers rushed to Nandos for some new offering as they have responded this time. A friend of mine celebrated his wedding anniversary at Nandos courtesy the Espetada Rustica.

Of course the print and the radio medium had a big part to play in this state of affairs since it was advertised on both these mediums. While the radio ad was good, especially the heavy accent used to portray possibly a Portuguese chef, the print ad would have made the great David Ogilvy turn in his grave.

Ogilvy was always a great fan of the white background, or at least a light one which would highlight the foreground elements. Nandos always goes against this convention. And it just doesn’t work completely. Just look at the ad, the background is red, the skewer is red and so is the drink! No contrast whatsoever. And if that wasn’t enough, the details of the entrée are written in microscopic font on a green background. Who on earth would be able to read that without a magnifying glass? And this isn’t the first time they have committed this folly. The fact that the cuisine has become well-known with the consumer doesn’t mean the print ad was a success. Maybe all the people driven towards the entrée was the sole result of the radio ad or even the billboard.

Now the crucial part- the taste. In that department, the Estrada Rustica is quite good. It comes in two flavors, the mild and the hot. We checked out the mild one, so cannot comment on the other one. The size of the portion was generous, enough to satiate the appetite of a healthy adult. The accessories could have been much better both in diversity and portion. A few boiled/backed pieces of assorted vegetables just doesn’t cut it. They should have at least thrown in the potato wedges for good measure, even if they are not part of the original 16th century recipe, that is, if there is really an ancient recipe of it. In any way, something extra must have been included, considering the price of the offering.

And now we come to the second crucial part – the pricing. Simply put, it is exorbitant. At Rs. 575 plus tax plus a drink plus the tip, you are looking at an Rs.850 meal, and there’s no appetizer or dessert. Now that’s pretty steep. When Nandos first launched  the offer, the drink called Blanko was included in the 575. Not anymore. You have to pay Rs.120 plus tax for that too. And it’s not even in the menu. Another fantastic marketing gimmicky.

Coming to the drink, it is offered in two flavors, either a sprite or a coke. Trust me, take the sprite version, for the other one is simply undrinkable. Not that the sprite one fares much better. We couldn’t discern the taste completely, but it tasted like a cross between a hair spray and a talcum powder. We tried our hardest to identify the brands of the powder and the hair spray, but the citrus taste courtesy slices of apple and orange in this ‘Portuguese’ drink created a hurdle in this endeavor.

We asked the waiter what on earth were the ingredients of the drink, and the poor soul had no idea himself. He said a strange syrup is imported the contents of which are confidential, and this syrup is used to make this drink. Swell.

But you have got to hand it to the Nandos people for sexing up the presentation of the drink as well with that ancient shaped bottle to go with the Columbus tale. And the volume was generous enough, about 300-350 ml.

Another brilliant marketing tactic they have come up is the use of cards to entice the first time customer for a repeat visit. The card is divided into six coupons, each coupon valid for a single visit. For the 2nd visit, you get chicken wings for free if you spend a certain amount, for the 3rd wedges and so on.

On our second visit, as promised we got the chicken wings, and they were simply divine. The thing to praise here is that the Nandos people didn’t try to cheat by offering less just because it was free, something that other franchises are prone to do.

Nandos ought to continue with this innovative style of coming up with strange and supposedly exotic dishes and marketing them aggressively. Yes, the price of Estrada Rustic is a bit too steep, which I reckon includes the cost of the marketing campaign. Otherwise, Nandos could easily have priced this product at Rs. 300-400 considering there’s no unique or expensive ingredient in it. But then, I’m also in favor of charging a brand premium if you can position your brand favorably in the consumer’s mind. And Nandos has succeeded at that in this case.

Pizza Hut’s Pzone Deal

Pizza Hut’s Pzone deal is the worst deal ever in the history of meal deals in Pakistan. This consensus has been reached by all those people who have dared to try it out. Pizza Hut is an expert exponent of innovative variations of its product. This time around it tried one variation too many.

After having just one bite of this strange dish, you wonder what was Pizza Hut thinking? It doesn’t fit with the brand essence of Pizza Hut in any way. It’s largely devoid of cheese so there goes the most essential ingredient of a pizza, then the bread used in this bizarre sandwich does not match with the crust used in the pizzas. So what was Pizza Hut trying to do?

The only logical explanation is that it’s trying to come up with a dish that triggers the individual dining experience similar to what is possible at KFC and MacDonald. Pizza Hut is more of a family dining experience so it probably wanted to reposition itself as equally good for dining alone. Maybe the pan pizza deals weren’t doing the trick so they had to resort to this drastic step.

However the way it has gone about this business is simply disastrous. Even the potato wedges that are served with this tasteless sandwich are nothing to write home about. What’s more, they are a handful. The only saving grace of this meal is the garlic sauce served with it. Pizza Hut is astute at making this sauce and it was again evident in this failed attempt.

So why did this offer fail? To begin with, the idea wasn’t bad, it was only the execution that didn’t come out right. So how can Pizza Hut change it around? Not now. It’s too late because the negative word of mouth has done enough damage to redeem this dish. In retrospective, what Pizza Hut could have done was use the same dough as well as style of baking which they employ for the pizzas. Then the filling of this sandwich should have been oozing with cheese instead of onion which was the case here. Again, the idea wasn’t bad in any way, if only Pizza Hut had put some effort into it.

Finally, they should have tested this product on their own management before releasing it into the wild. This simple gesture would have saved this campaign from disaster. If the management wasn’t able to eat this dish all the way through in that test, then the consumer should have been spared this agony.

Pizza Hut’s Panormous Deal

Pizza Hut’s branding endeavors hit the bull’s eye more often than not.

Their panormous deal is a brilliant concept right down to the name. According to revelation by the senior marking manager of Pizza Hut saira, these deals are geared towards the lower SECs, to entice them to try this upscale delicacy at an affordable price. The only problem is, even these discount deals are expensive for the working class to have a go at. Instead, the people who end up consuming them are the relatively upper SECs. Continue reading Pizza Hut’s Panormous Deal

Subway’s Rs.169 Special Deal

When it comes to special offers, Subway takes the lead over all the other foreign franchises operating in Pakistan. Maybe this has got something to do with the fact that amongst all the foreign brands in Pakistan, Subway has had the toughest time. 10 years down the line, they have managed to capture a meager 6% of the market share in contrast to KFC lion’s share of 29%, Pizza Hut with 23% and McDonald’s with 18%.  Although Nando’s is at 6% as well, but then Nando’s hasn’t had the run that Subway has plus it doesn’t have that many outlets compared to the strong network of Subway.

(These market share stats were determined through an online survey conducted by Dawn.com and the results published in Aurora magazine). Continue reading Subway’s Rs.169 Special Deal