Pizza Hut Takes on Subway with New P'Zolo

Pizza Hut's latest giant hot pocket could rival Subway

Facebook/Pizza Hut

Everyone wants a piece of what Subway’s got. According to The New York Times, while the restaurant industry overall lost 4,500 restaurants last year, Subway actually grew its store count by 872.

Pizza Hut is just the latest restaurant to make a grab for Subway’s market share, which it’s doing by rolling out a new menu item called the P’Zolo. It sounds like a cousin to the similarly awkwardly named P’Zone and has been compared to a wrap, a sub, and a calzone, but it really looks like nothing so much as a giant Hot Pocket. It comes in three varieties — Buffalo chicken, Italian steak, and "meat trio" with pepperoni, sausage, and ham — and costs $3 apiece or two for $5.

The $5 price point is a clear attempt to snag some of Subway’s sweet $5 footlong action, which Subway’s global chief marketing officer, Tony Pace, said is a $4 billion brand all by itself. The new meat pocket pizza things are paired with a marketing campaign urging customers to "say so long to the footlong" and get "more bang for your five bucks." Pizza Hut has also wrapped the cars of Chicago’s Red Line trains with giant ads that say, "See ya subs. This is the P’Zolo."

It will also give away free samples on Thursday at Chicago Red Line stops that will be announced on Pizza Hut’s Facebook page. Nation’s Restaurant News reports that Pizza Hut is also planning a Facebook game that will "allow Facebook users to test their firing skills to take down subs with an arsenal of P’Zolos." Subtle, guys.

For its part, Subway seems relatively unperturbed about the challenge. "There are many $5 offers out there," Subway’s Pace said, "but none has resonated and stuck the way ours has."