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Pizza Hut's new Bigfoot spawns 50,000 workers


Pizza Hut announced yesterday that because of the test-market success of its new Bigfoot pizza, it is adding 50,000 permanent part-time jobs at its restaurants.

Pizza Hut, a subsidiary of Pepsico Inc., operates more than 7,000 American restaurants and delivery units and more than 2,000 outlets in 73 foreign countries.

"It's a gratifying feeling to be hiring this many new employees at a time when our economy needs a real boost," said Allan Huston, Pizza Hut's chairman and chief executive.

The new jobs, which will include delivery driver, cashier, food server and dough master, will boost Pizza Hut's 235,000 systemwide employee base by 21 percent, a Pizza Hut spokesman said. Most of the hiring will take place this month.

Pizza Hut's hiring announcement comes on the day the chain is beginning its national rollout of Bigfoot, a 2-by-1-foot rectangular pizza with 21 slices and as many as three toppings.

The product was developed to capture market share in the growing value-oriented carryout and delivery segment of the $19 billion-a-year U.S. pizza market.

Priced at $8.99 for a one-topping carryout pizza, or $10.99 for a home-delivered pizza with up to three toppings, Bigfoot is designed to compete against competitors like Little Caesar's Inc. and Domino's Pizza, the No. 1 pizza delivery chain.

The new product is made with a thinner crust and sweeter taste than Pizza Hut's traditional round pizzas.

Bigfoot has been test-marketed in Las Vegas and Minneapolis since December. In February, Pizza Hut also began selling Bigfoot in Colorado Springs, Colo.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; North Dakota and South Dakota; Jacksonville, Fla.; and Milwaukee.

Results in test markets have been positive, with sales in Las Vegas alone rising 14 percent during the initial test period as a result of Bigfoot, Pizza Hut said.

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