Cilantro, intestines and pig’s blood?: Here’s how Pizza Hut Taiwan decides on its viral toppings

Cilantro, intestines and pig’s blood?: Here’s how Pizza Hut Taiwan decides on its viral toppings
via Pizza Hut Taiwan

The fast food chain has previously sold cilantro and pig’s blood-topped pizza and durian mango pizza with fried chicken, among others

April 7, 2023
Pizza Hut Taiwan is no stranger to controversy, having sold everything from durian mango pizza and tonkotsu “ramen pizza” to chocolate-crusted pizza topped with Oreos, popcorn chicken and calamari.
The fast food chain’s infamous limited-time offerings, however, are not just for shock value.
Plenty of thought and research goes behind each unique flavor combination. According to Anthony Leung, Pizza Hut Taiwan’s general manager, he and his team devote a lot of time to finding new food trends and analyzing Taiwan’s food market.
“We started looking at the social-digital sphere to understand our consumers via social listening,” he told Taiwan Business Topics in August 2022. “We found that local ingredients are the best driver for social buzz here, so we made use of big data to research the most searched-for local ingredients.”
Besides analyzing large volumes of data, Leung and his team also find inspiration outdoors, such as at Taiwan’s night markets. Once, on a night out, one of his team members noticed someone pairing Oreos with popcorn chicken, which eventually became the inspiration behind Pizza Hut Taiwan’ viral pizza with Oreos, popcorn chicken and calamari.
Pizza Hut Taiwan
via Pizza Hut Taiwan
While experimenting with new toppings, Leung and his team have a “fail fast, learn fast” mindset.
Pizza Hut Taiwan has been launching controversial flavors since 2019, and while some of their pizzas — such as their cilantro, intestines and pig’s blood-topped pizza — have quickly sold out, others have not been as successful, such as their stinky tofu pizza and bubble tea pizza.
“My team is truly passionate about food and loves to try different things. They’re unafraid to fail, and they’re digitally savvy, so they’re comfortable with finding new food trends and trying them out,” Leung told Taiwan Business Topics.
Pizza Hut Taiwan
via Pizza Hut Taiwan
Pizza Hut Taiwan
via Pizza Hut Taiwan
Given that approximately 60% of Pizza Hut Taiwan’s customers order online, digital marketing is especially important to the fast food chain’s success.
Leung told CNN in February that Pizza Hut Taiwan’s website has seen an increase in traffic and that its business has changed “from flat growth to double digit growth” because of the new flavor combinations. 
Instead of relying on traditional advertising, Pizza Hut Taiwan turns to social media.
“We want to boost the sales of other mainstream pizza through the increased talkability,” Grace Chiang, Pizza Hut’s operations director, told CNN. “We hope to make customers come back more frequently, from three months, to two months, to every day.”
Pizza Hut Taiwan
via Pizza Hut Taiwan
Pizza Hut Taiwan most recently went viral for its “Zero Damage Pizza.”
In a shocking turn of events, the fast food chain held back on unusual pizzas for April Fool’s this year. Instead of announcing a new controversial flavor combination, it promoted a simple pizza — without any toppings.
“Sorry, Italians! Sorry, Japanese! Sorry, people of Changhua! … In our latest work, the ‘Zero Damage Pizza,’ we learned the truth of repenting by letting go of ingredients,” Pizza Hut Taiwan wrote on Facebook, as per Taiwan News. “We guarantee that no one will die of anger because of this product.”
The viral limited-time pizza, which was described as “the friendliest product in history” and “loved by everyone,” was discovered to be a ring of stuffed crust. It reportedly gained so much popularity that several Pizza Hut Taiwan customers said their delivery orders were either delayed or canceled.
Pizza Hut Taiwan is not the only fast food chain that has gone viral for its unique offerings.
In April last year, Pizza Hut Indonesia released a dim sum pizza with a crust made of dumplings, and earlier this year, Domino’s Japan sold a limited-time bacon milkshake to dip pizza slices in. Just last month, Pizza Hut Japan released a pizza topped with tons of cilantro.

      Isa Peralta

      Isa Peralta is a Senior Editor for NextShark




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