- Pizza Hut updated its Hut Rewards loyalty program to let members for the first time earn points for in-store purchases, per an announcement shared with Mobile Marketer. The pizza chain cut its minimum point level to get free food to 75 Hut Rewards points for an order of breadsticks.
- The program now also awards two points for every one dollar spent on food, regardless of the ordering method, such as phone, in-store or online. Previously, Huts Rewards members could only earn points from their online orders, and only redeem points for medium or large pizzas.
- Pizza Hut's updated loyalty program comes a month after the pizza chain kicked off its first national campaign as the official pizza sponsor of the National Football League. Pizza Hut introduced the Game Plan digital platform to let fans access deals, receive notifications about their favorite NFL teams and enter to win football-themed prizes.
The pizza wars are heating up as the NFL completes Week 4 of the 16-game regular season, with Pizza Hut expanding its Hut Rewards program to customers who place phone orders or dine at one of its more than 7,000 locations in the United States. The promotion may help to lift Pizza Hut's mobile app, which is ranked No. 14 in the food and drink category in Apple's App Store, behind No. 9 Domino's Pizza, per data from researcher Similar Web.
As part of its NFL tie-in, Pizza Hut last month introduced the Beanbag Blitz app, an interpretation of the popular tailgate game cornhole or bean bag toss, that combines augmented reality (AR) with its pizza boxes. Consumers can download the app and use their smartphone camera to unlock the AR game by scanning one of the limited-edition boxes. The expanded Hut Rewards program, Game Plan platform, national TV campaign and AR game tied to its pizza boxes are part of Pizza Hut's efforts to regain the top spot among pizza chains.
Meanwhile, Domino's Pizza last week added a "dinner bell" feature to its mobile app that customers can use to notify friends, family and colleagues that food has arrived. The app lets customers form groups of people who will receive a notice on their smartphones when the pizza has been ordered. The app rings again automatically when the order is out for delivery.