Building the Brand: Leading With Hut Family Values
In 1959, the year after the first Pizza Hut® opened in Wichita, Kan., the Carney brothers introduced the opportunity to franchise – starting first with family and friends. The franchise business quickly grew. By 1966, there were more than 140 Pizza Hut locations.
Today, the Pizza Hut System operates more than 18,000 restaurants, most of which are owned and operated by franchisees, in more than 100 countries. In Pizza Hut’s new series – Building the Brand – you’ll be introduced to some of Pizza Hut’s U.S. franchisees, find out how they grow as a business, get to know their leaders, and understand how these teams lead in their community.
In our first edition, meet Tom Wyczawski, president of Tasty Hut LLC, a division of Tasty Restaurant Group. Tasty Hut LLC has more than 220 Pizza Hut locations in 11 states and aspires to deliver the Pizza Hut-defined Guest Experience – great food, served fast and friendly.
Tom, tell us about yourself and why you chose to work with Pizza Hut.
In the past 30 years of my career, I have been in the restaurant industry. I started with operations engineering and consulting, then went to brand management. For the last 15 years, I’ve been both a franchisee and a franchise operator.
Tasty Restaurant Group’s CEO, Robert Rodriguez, and I have worked together several times throughout my career. When we talked about his new adventure working with Triton Pacific to build Tasty Restaurant Group and the challenges of building a great restaurant operation company, it seemed like an incredible opportunity to work with a talented team of people and to have a positive impact on our family members’ (what we call our team members) lives while serving our guests and our shareholders.
What’s the Pizza Hut experience like at a Tasty Hut restaurant?
We are a large company that aspires to deliver the Pizza Hut-defined Guest Experience (great food, served fast and friendly), but we always put people first and still offer a culture characterized by love and caring support for our family members and customers. We call this our Hut Family Values. We work hard to create inviting exteriors and interiors and utilize modern technology to be both productive for our teams, but also relevant for our customers. We have seven operational foundations that, when executed well, help provide great guest and family member experiences, as well as grow business results. These seven foundations are 100 percent staffed; 100 percent trained; food safety basics; perfect dough and pizzas; fast and effective compliant management; ready for customer; and Hut Family Values.
We continue to grow with more than 60 remodels, relocations, rebuilds, and new stores in the last two years. This includes a mix of delivery/carry-out restaurants and a few dine-in restaurants.
We also adopt new technologies that will help enhance the guest and Team Member experience, leveraging third-party delivery services (like DoorDash Drive), world-class operation boards, pickup windows, digital signage, menus, and purchasing systems.
What does Tasty Hut look for in leaders in their organization?
We try to keep it simple at Tasty Hut. We believe if people respect and aspire to live out our Hut Family Values, are skilled to do their job, and are open to learning and receiving personal growth, then we can teach folks the rest. Leaders, whether at a restaurant or here at corporate, who have been most successful at Tasty Hut are those who build strong teams with diverse thinkers, are maniacs about execution and strategies, and really lean in and lead change.
What is Tasty Hut’s growth strategy and what’s most important to Tasty Hut?
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How is Tasty Hut involved in the community?
We not only strive to support our communities with jobs at our restaurants and offering incredible food to our guests but also try to give back where we can through philanthropic donations. This may include fundraising or providing meals for individuals experiencing hardship or tragic events.
Right now, we are doing a Ukraine fundraiser to support World Central Kitchen, providing emergency meals to Ukrainians all over Europe. This organization is also supporting families around our restaurants in Eastern Kentucky. And most importantly, we have dozens of family members who get involved in their communities to support those in need.
What’s next for Tasty Hut?
We will continue to march down the path of becoming one of the very best Pizza Hut franchisees in the world by continuing to invest in our people, energizing our current assets and building new restaurants, delivering consistent results for our shareholders, but even more, impressing our guests with great guest experiences.
We have come a long way in 2.5 years, but we still have work to do to fully live out our mission as a premier Pizza Hut franchise. And, I am blessed to have a great team of people, both in Tasty Hut and in our support groups, who fully support us on this journey.
To learn more about Tasty Restaurant and Tasty Hut LLC, visit tastyrg.com.