Rancilio and Pizza Hut evolve together
A big part of Pizza Hut’s recent redesign program in the UK has been investing in the right equipment. When it came to coffee, Rancilio ticked all the boxes.
Anybody visiting a Pizza Hut restaurant in the UK today will notice a vast change from just a few years ago. Stores across the country have undergone a major makeover – from the décor to the menu to the coffee offer – all part of a move to attract a wider customer base.
A big part of the re-design program has been a greater focus on the right equipment and one of the key changes has been the installation of Rancilio coffee machines in around 50 restaurants to date – from Bournemouth to Glasgow.
According to Wayne Penfold, procurement manager for Pizza Hut restaurants, coffee is “a growing part” of the chain’s overall offer and with diners’ expectations of coffee higher than ever, he needed to find a provider that could guarantee an offer that was both high quality and consistent.
Rancilio – with its ever-expanding product portfolio and flexibility - ticked all the boxes. “The machines are very well made, easy to use and the specification we went for focused on ease of operation, delivering a good cup of coffee and one that is going to be future proof,” Penfold says. “When we start driving more coffee sales for our restaurants we won’t be worried about the machines’ ability to keep up with that demand.”
POWER TO THE BARISTA
The last decade has seen major changes in the equipment Rancilio manufactures. For example, today’s machines are focused on giving power to the barista and allowing machine operators to be more involved with the machine.
“Rancilio Xcelsius system is the only technology that gives the barista a new kind of control over the temperature, one of the most critical parameters in making an espresso,” explains Rancilio’s commercial director Andrea Mascetti. “Profiling the extraction guarantees a different result in the cup with a unique blend according the tastes of barista and his clients.”
There has also been an effort to increase automation of certain devices, as not all operators are skilled baristas. “An innovative and automatic steam wand, a Rancilio Patent, allows the barista to easily heat and froth the milk using a mix of steam and air, to obtain a soft and remarkably compact froth,” Mascetti says, adding that new technology has also introduced other elements such as touch display interfaces that make machines easier to use.
Due to a relatively low demand for coffee at this stage, Pizza Hut has gone for a pod concept rather than using coffee beans and Rancilio has adapted the handles in order to accommodate the pods.
Moreover, demonstrating the true partnership element of the relationship between the two companies, Rancilio has started adapting an existing model to meet the specific requirements of the smaller Pizza Hut outlets: in adding the YouSteam function to its Classe 5 compact model, its functionality suits these restaurants.
“This is a smaller machine so it fits a smaller footprint. A smaller boiler also means lower energy usage. It means it will be a better fit for some of our smaller restaurants where we don’t have the need for quite so much capacity,” explains Penfold, adding that partnerships with all suppliers are an important thing for Pizza Hut.
“We look to maintain a longer term relationship with suppliers in order to support our business and build on the success we have enjoyed over the last three or four years.”
At present, it is still early days in the partnership and according to Mascetti, signing the deal was just the first step in a long process. “Our job started when we signed the agreement to supply the machines. I feel proud that Pizza Hut trusts us and our products,” he says.