According to flavored pizza crust lore, the executives at Hungry Howie’s got the idea for flavored crusts from one of their franchisees. The chefs were buttering the crusts and putting sesame seeds on top, and customers loved it. Hungry Howie’s decided to try it out company-wide, and today they are one of the most successful pizza chains out there, known primarily for their flavored crusts.
Hungry Howie’s first quarter sales in 2011 rose by nearly 7 percent, a time when other restaurants were struggling to survive. They are quick to point out why they are seeing so much success. “We believe that our Flavored Crust Pizza really sets us apart from the competition,” says President Steven Jackson. “While other pizza chains are reporting decreases in sales, we have seen a significant increase.”
Though the flavored crust trend started by Hungry Howie's has been mimicked by other pizza shops, it hasn't yet saturated the market. Flavored crust remains a unique and fun way to set your pizza concept apart from the competition.
Here are some flavored pizza crust ideas from Hungry Howie’s, to get a sense of what’s out there:
- Buttered cheese
- Garlic herb
- Ranch Cajun
- Butter onion
Hungry Howie's uses fairly simple flavors that are now common to expect in flavored pizza crusts. In other pizza restaurants, some operators have found success in creating similarly simple options with dough flavors like sourdough, rye, parmesan and a gluten-free polenta crust.
And, with consumers growing increasingly adventurous, the limits of pizza crust experimentation are open to daring flavors. Depending on your restaurant's demographic, flavored crust could provide a positive addition to your menu.
- Beer pizza crust: This recipe comes from the blog Taste for Adventure, which also features a pizza crust made with wine! What’s great about adding beer to the dough recipe is that it creates a yeasty, bread-like flavor that really pleases the palate.
- Truffle oil crust: There are truffle oil enthusiasts out there who believe that this magic oil makes anything taste great. Truffle oil also adds a hint of extravagance and elegance to your dough recipe. Truffle oil crusts can easily sell at a higher price point and add an instant touch of class to your menu.
- Zucchini crust: This gluten-free crust has a great flavor and texture. Experiment with this recipe and others like it to create a unique alternative to other gluten-free pizza crusts on the market.
With an estimated 70,000 pizzerias in the U.S., any way to differentiate your business is an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed. Take Hungry Howie's success into consideration and create something new for your pizza restaurant's menu. Set your pizza business apart with a trend that has yet to go stale.
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