Well, no, obviously. But I think it’s a bit more complicated than that.
I spent a lot of time in Pizza Hut growing up so have a fondness for it, and now with my own children it is a regular haunt. It’s one of those places (on the same list as Harvester and Beefeater) that does what it says on the tin, i.e. acceptable food at an acceptable price.
A recent visit got me thinking that the quality is much better than once it was. I would say that five to ten years ago Pizza Express was very easily twice as good, or 100% better than Pizza Hut. Possibly even more. And whilst Pizza Express has arguably stood still in terms of the restaurant offering, Pizza Hut have adapted, updated and caught up in a very real way. If you haven’t been to Pizza Hut for a while you should see the menu, whilst it isn’t amazing it’s a long way from what it once was and the quality has improved dramatically. This is very subjective, but I reckon that if you choose well at Pizza Hut, Pizza Express nowadays is only one third, or 33% better. It’s still better, but nowhere near as much as it once was. So, it becomes a question of value for money…
The Blazin’ Inferno is £8.95 at Pizza Hut and an equivalent at Pizza Express is the American Hot at £11.00. This means that you can get a pizza that is (again, my subjective opinion) 25% better and that costs 23% more, about right. However, they aren't the same size. I actually think that in terms of quantity the Pizza Hut pizza is 25% larger, so a corrected comparison would show that the Pizza Express pizza costs 54% more in real terms. So the pizza is actually quite a bit more expensive and the rest of the menu is pretty much the same story. A glass of Pinot Grigio at Pizza Hut is £3.10, whereas you will pay £4.50 for the same size glass at Pizza Express. Similarly, bruschetta will cost you £3.25 and £4.60 at Pizza Hut and Pizza Express respectively. So expect to pay 45% more for a glass of wine and 42% more for a starter. I’m not even going to mention the free salad at Pizza Hut, or the free refill soft drinks.
Pizza Express is better of course, that is a fact. However, if you don’t mind sitting amongst spotty teenagers on a first date then please consider revisiting Pizza Hut. If you can find one that has been renovated this century, go. The food is much better nowadays and for the price vs. Pizza Express it represents good value, especially if you have a family. I think a good rule or mantra is…
Pizza Hut for lunch and Pizza Express for dinner.
I love a free salad bar, and this is a big part of the Pizza Hut appeal. However, whilst the quality has generally remained unchanged over the years (i.e. acceptable), the potato salad and Thousand Island dressing have both taken a massive drop in quality. The former now tastes like it is from a supermarket tub and the latter is runny and tasteless. These two important parts of the salad bar are a problem for me so I am nowadays genuinely a little disappointed every time I visit. In terms of free salad bar quality, Pizza Hut could learn a lot from Harvester.