Fired up over its new family-style pastas, Pizza Hut has changed its brand name to “Pasta Hut.” Really? No, not really. But the pizza chain has embarked on a major marketing push for its new Tuscani Pastas, including a hidden-camera TV commercial.
The name change was kind of an April Fool’s joke, which included temporarily changing the logo signage at Pizza Hut’s Dallas headquarters to “Pasta Hut.” But the world’s largest pizza chain is totally serious about expanding its menu with these new pasta entrees.
Two types of oven-baked pastas are currently being offered: Meaty Marinara and Creamy Chicken Alfredo. Both feature rotini pasta with sauce and cheese, and each comes with five breadsticks. Sized for a family of four, each Tuscani pasta is priced at $11.99. You can upgrade the breadsticks with cheese for an extra dollar.
The TV commercial, in case you haven’t seen it, shows patrons at an upscale-looking restaurant (Provence in New York), filmed by a hidden camera as they enjoy their pasta dinners. The proprietor then enters the scene and asks if they are enjoying the meal. Of course everyone gushes over the food and he then tells them they’ve been sampling the new Tuscani Pastas from Pizza Hut. Imagine their surprise. Reminds us of the old Folger’s Crystals commercials of a couple decades ago.
Just like the chain’s pizzas, Tuscani Pastas are available for home delivery. We had them delivered to The Food Channel this week and gave them our taste test.
The pastas come sealed in aluminum foil pans in a size suitable for a family of four, but for smaller households, the portion would be great for dinner for two, with leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch.
We found both varieties to be flavorful and satisfying. This is NOT “cafeteria pasta” one taster commented. Entrees like these could easily be very boring. These were not. The Meaty Marinara had a subtle spice kick to it, but not enough to turn off small children. In fact, we all agreed the Tuscanis would be ideal for families with small kids—a nice alternative to pizza on those nights when mom doesn’t feel like cooking. The Creamy Chicken Alfredo was rich, but not overly so, with decent-sized slices of chicken nestled in the thick sauce.
Both pastas have a very homey, all-family feel to them. Pizza Hut is likely to do well with these new menu items. They probably won’t cut into their pizza sales much, and may well bring in some new, more family-oriented customers.