Fast-food chains used to (in the 1950s and 1960s) built their menus around predictability. McDonald’s (MCD) – Get McDonald’s Corporation Report and Restaurant Brands International’s (QSR) – Get Restaurant Brands International Inc Report Burger King literally started by making sure each restaurant offered the same experience no matter where you might be eating.
That started to change in the 1970s as consistency gave way to customers wanting something different. At first, that led to innovations like offering fish sandwiches, and later the fairly revolutionary 1983 launch of the McDonald’s Chicken McNugget.
After that, the rules were essentially gone and consumers got a lot of odd experiments. Remember McPizza and McSpaghetti (it’s better if you don’t). What about Burger King’s Veal Parmesan and Ham and Cheese sandwiches?
Many fast-food innovations failed spectacularly like the never-ending efforts of both McDonald’s and Burger King to create a premium burger (RIP Arch Deluxe). Now, it seems like fast-food chains have to try different things just to stay relevant.
Pizza Hut Adds San Francisco-style Pizza?
America has a lot of famous pizza styles. You’ve got New York, New Haven, Connecticut, and the lasagna-like deep-dish mess made famous in Chicago. That makes it a bit odd that Yum’s Pizza Hut has introduced San Francisco-style pizza in its locations in India.
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Pizza Hut uses sourdough crust (which is a San Francisco thing) on its unique pizza which it has offered on and off around the world for a few years. The toppings can vary (for some reason olives are involved in the version shown in the Tweet below), but the crust appears to be the key.
Sourdough crust appears to be a Pizza Hut thing as there is actually a style of pizza San Francisco is known for, according to Slice Life.
“So, what is San Francisco-style pizza? It is comprised of a basic, thin crust and just about anything else, so long as it is sustainably grown and locally sourced. For example, during the fall, you can expect to find a pizza topped with root vegetables and during the summer, you can expect to see juicy, ripe tomatoes among other things,” the site shared.
McDonald’s Takes on KFC
In the United States, McDonald’s only tried bone-in chicken once with its failed Mighty Wings chicken wings. In India, however, the fast-food giant has been directly taking on KFC with bone-in fried chicken including a spicy version.
And, while McDonald’s may never try bone-in chicken in its home market, it may bring another of its India menu innovations to the U.S. The chain has a line of “McSpicy” products, which would likely be a popular menu addition anywhere in the world.
KFC, however, won’t be likely to bring its India menu staple, the Bryani Bucket, to the U.S. That offering includes “Hyderabadi style Biryani rice,” along with spicy gravy. Most Bryani buckets come with fried chicken, but the chain also offers a version for vegetarians that comes with a fried “Veg Patty.”
All of these chains have offerings that work only in foreign markets, but they also use their international stores to test items that eventually get offered in domestic restaurants. Sometimes, it’s hard to know which is which and some seemingly good ideas never make it to U.S. shores, but others eventually become global hits.