Why Is Pizza Hut So Expensive?

  • By: Mike
  • Date: June 4, 2021
  • Time to read: 5 min.

I recently had someone ask me why Pizza Hut is so expensive? At first, I agreed, and after all, why is Pizza Hut so expensive? But, after some research and exhaustive comparisons, I found that it may not be as expensive as one thought. So, let’s compare the data, geek out on pizza valuations and talk all things Pizza Hut prices!

Answer: Pizza Hut is more expensive than other fast-food pizza chains as they still have higher operating costs with dining, seating and in-house waitstaff. Additionally, a Pizza Hut pizza will often have more toppings and better ingredients than traditional grab-and-go pizza chains, all of which lead to a higher price. However, with the evolution of grab-and-go pizza like that of Little Caesars, it has changed the pizza pricing landscape and we are now seeing very competitive pricing in pizza to include cheaper offerings from Pizza Hut.

Recently, when visiting friends, they ordered us all some Pizza Hut for dinner. It had been a while since I had Pizza Hut and I didnt really remember the quality or taste. When the Pizza Hut pizza arrived, I was pretty blown away at the taste and quality compared to how I remembered it.

After a couple slices, I asked our friends about the price and was once-again blown away at the pricing as it was very comparable to what I was already paying for Little Caesars. So, we finished our Pizza Hut, enjoyed our stay with friends and carried on. 

The Evolution of Pizza Hut Prices

In the past, Pizza Hut was more known for the restaurant styled pizza chain vibe, you could come in with family, get a table, have a waiter/waitress and enjoy your pizza in a traditional restaurant setting.

In-fact, as a kid in the 80’s Pizza Hut was awesome! They had arcade games, music, sports on the TV and even beer! Everyone from mom and dad to the kids were happy to go to Pizza Hut.

Now with this restaurant styled experience, this naturally made the pizza more expensive at Pizza Hut than a Little Caesars (or Dominos) as both of those brands were more of a “grab and go” or delivery pizza chain instead of a sit-down pizza place. 

When you have a restaurant style pizza establishment like the old-school Pizza Hut brands, you will have a much higher operating cost. Just think about it, you have a much larger building to account for tables and seating, arcade games, bathrooms, etc.

When you have much higher operating costs, those costs must be offset somewhere, and in this case, Pizza Hut passed many of those costs into a more premium price

Let’s be real, Little Caesars changed the pizza pricing game at a national level. When Little Caesars made it really easy to grab a large pepperoni pizza for just $5 bucks?

Well, people are just drawn to a pizza they can get without waiting for a price that costs less than a cheeseburger from McDonalds. In-Fact, that $5 Little Caesar’s pizza is even cheaper than the majority of frozen pizzas in your local grocery store. 

While Little Caesars may have changed the game with their pricing, they lacked a HUGE component market competition, pizza taste and quality. Because the Little Ceaser’s pizza was so cheap, it came at a “taste and quality” price.

With limited amounts of cheese, about 8 pieces of pepperoni and mediocre bread/crust that was generally dripping in more grease than flavor, Little Caesars may have had the “cheapest” pizza, it just wasn’t good to most people.

Now don’t get me wrong, to this day, if it’s been a long day, work is done, the kids are finished with sports practices for the day, we will still swing by a Little Ceasers from time to time and grab a quick, cheap pizza. I may be the “Pizza Informer” but I’m also human, cut me some slack!

In the past when we wanted a quick pizza to grab, we went with Little Caesars because, well, Pizza Hut was just too expensive. I don’t want to drop $40 for a couple of pies on a Wednesday night after a hectic day.

If I am in the mood for a fancy pizza, I’ll make it myself, so a cheap grab and go works sometimes. But, how does Pizza Hut stack up in their pricing against the other major players in national fast-food styled pizza chains?

Pizza Compared To The Other Brands Pricing

I wanted to see just how different a Pizza Hut pizza was priced from the four main competitors in today’s market. In the table below, I compared the prices of the cheapest large 1-topping pizza you could get from Pizza Hut, Little Caesars, Papa Johns and Dominos. In addition, I compared each of those brands with a more traditional family pizza order of two-large pizzas, each with 3 toppings and a side of cheese sticks.

Then, I topped this research off with a big group order like a corporate luncheon, or a kids sports team would order 10 Large Pizzas each with 2-toppings. Here are the results I found:

*Disclaimer: I’m not using any “sales or deals” offered as those are not in-line with everyday pricing. Additionally, I’m not able to account for every region’s pricing. I have also not added tax as your local tax will also vary, these are base prices. Your local pricing may vary, this is just a sample case study. 

Pizza Brands(Carryout Prices)Cheapest Large 1-ToppingTwo Large 2-Toppings and 1 order of Cheese Sticks10 Large 2-Toppings
Pizza Hut$10$39.97$169.90
Little Caesars $6.99$15.73$97.40
Papa Johns$15.9944.97$174.90
My Super Fancy Pizza Price Comparison Chart

As you can see, pricing varies quite a bit in pizza chains. How they get to their numbers is their own secret recipe, but we do know that having seating and waitstaff alone will raise operating costs. 

To put all of this in perspective, if I was to order 1 value meal from Mcdonalds for a Big Mac with fries and a drink (medium), it would cost me $9.65, so effectively the same price as a large pizza from Pizza Hut.

That one value meal from McDonalds feeds one person (in theory) and that same $10 Large pizza from Pizza Hut feeds a few people (again, in theory). So, it’s just not that expensive folks!

Bottom Line

So, as you can see, Pizza Hut is not so expensive when compared to today’s pricing against the 4 major competitors in national delivery pizza. When you consider that Pizza Hut has higher operating costs, generally more toppings and better tasting ingredients all while still being the 2nd cheapest option nationally, I’d venture to say, they are not expensive!

Not to mention when compared against the price of a single big mac meal from McDonalds. So, there you have it! Hope this was informative and helped ease your mind about Pizza Hut’s pricing, after all, it’s pretty good (they didn’t pay me to write this, just doing my own thing here folks). 

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