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Pizza Hut Commercial

I'm sure by now everyone has seen this commercial where the diners at a real restaurant get served Pizza Hut's meals. They all say that it's the best food ever. So let me ask you this, aside from the obvious where the people don't see cameras and all order only what is on the Pizza Hut menu - if this is true. Does it day more about what Americans think is Italian food, or that our sense of taste is in the garbage?

I will say this. Some of the best Italian food I've ever had is from a local chain, and some of the worst was at "fancy" Italian places. I'm not saying Pizza Hut is the caliber of any mom and pop place, but haven't the mom and pop places changed their recipes to cater to "ignorant palettes?"

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  1. I don't think it was a working restaurant. Just one of those, "stop in for a pasta tasting!" meals where folks thought there was an opportunity to taste from a new menu.

    This blog - http://www.sogoodblog.com/2008/04/21/...

    says this was at Provence restaurant in NYC which has closed after going through some rough times. The last NYT review is here:

    http://events.nytimes.com/2007/06/13/...

    If any of this is true, I could see a "testing" dinner meal being bought by individuals (especially if it was all free). If people were expecting something new and different, this would have been it. The pastas would have also been plated in such a way as to look high-end. The looks of food can elevate taste - especially if you're not looking at an aluminum pan or pooled up grease in the corner of a take-out box. Throw fresh cheese and a sprinkling of herbs on top and you can have just about anything taste halfway decent.

    The other point the blog makes is that this is all that anyone's seen out of the commercials is the one commercial. They're comparing it to the Burger King Whopper joke which netted a ton of commercials and a 7-minute movie on their website with people irritated that Burger King may have really stopped carrying the Whopper.

    If this is all Pizza Hut really has, getting 30 seconds of folks saying, "this is great" or even part of "this is the best!" (leaving out "free meal!" in the edit) isn't all that hard.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Stephmo

      H.L Menchen: No one has ever gone broke underestimating the bad taste of an American.

      1. re: Passadumkeg

        Not exactly breaking news that the average American palate has been dumbed-down. I've actually contemplated ordering Pizza Hut pasta just to satisfy my curiosity, just haven't summoned the courage yet.

        1. re: MagnumWino

          Hey, don't forget the KFC mashed potato bowl! We have a pretty wonderful 18 yr old son, with pretty good taste buds, and he got suckered in by the KFC commercial. He didn't even finish the bowl. A good lesson in life. Much more fun to avoid all national chains.

          1. re: Passadumkeg

            Aren't those KFC bowls the Most.Disgusting.Thing.Ever!?! We make a hobby out of avoiding most chains as well. And we live in the land of chain restaurants/fast food joints.

          2. re: MagnumWino

            Seriously,I have watched that commercial enough times that I actually said to my roommate the other night that I wanted to try the pasta - as yousaid, to satisfy my curiosity. And I live in NYC and don't even eat Pizza Hut pizza - since I can get better. So, imagine the power of those ads!I know that a) I make great pasta dishes myself, and b) in my head I beleive that the pizza place around the corner probably makes better pasta than Pizza Hut...yet, I am so curious to try!

        2. re: Stephmo

          I don't know...it seems to me if you plated and tweaked Farmer John's liverwurst in a nice restaurant people would believe it's pâté or something.

        3. A long time ago, the National Lampoon had an article about a fictitious restaurant that served food in wheelbarrows. Anyway, I remember a picture of them wheeling out a barrow full of pasta.

          This commercial reminds me of that article.

          1. I'm not surprised by the results of this Pizza Hut commercial at all.

            Just as I am no longer surprised by the incessant lines and crowds at places like Cheesecake Factory and Macaroni Grill ...

            8 Replies
            1. re: ipsedixit

              I don't think the point is that every place that is a "chain" serves horrid food. Heck, Ruth's Chris Steak House is a chain. Is any restraunteur with more than 1 place a sell-out/chain? I believe a number of chefs would be surprised to find out that they're "horrible" because they have more than 1 chain. Is N9Ne in Vegas out because they're the children of Morton's owners (Morton's also became a chain).

              I'll eat at cheesecake factory because we can get good food that we either split then and there or make additional meals out of later. They actually had a rather interesting profile on The Cheesecake Factory for "Into the Fire." Their menu change by roughly 50% a year to ensure that they're not in a rut and highlighting newer tastes and trends in food.

              I've never really understood someone dragging me to some hole-in-the-wall restaurant where they laud the food as being "so great because it's not a chain!" when it barely passes as edible. Basically, this person feels special because the owner was at the joint and did a great job of stopping by. If you take a peak into those independent kitchens, you'll find a lot of pre-done meals and sides (I'm never surprised when we check out BBQ joints to find out that the Mac n' Cheese is basically Stouffers frozen - that's actually one of my "tests" - if you make homemade mac n' cheese, you're already doing better).

              I love a good independent restaurant. But it has to be good. Just like there are highlights at chains, there are definite lowlights at independent restaurants.

              I really hate the automatic bashing of everything associated with a "chain." At some point, I think I'm going to develop a chain of "independent" restaurants where I go out of my way to hire "owners" that make folks feel like they've found some hole-in-the wall dream restaurant. I'll make money hand over fist and watch as I sucker people into believing they're not eating at a chain.

              Really, it's just a 30 second commercial where people were being nice about food they likely got for free. That's all.

              If you want to put down a chain, explain exactly what you ate there and the circumstances and why it was so horrid. Don't say "because it was a chain." Cheescake will always have my favorite grilled vegetable sandwich - I don't really eat it as a sandwich, but more as a knife-and-fork grilled vegetable and bread salad, but it's one of the few places that doesn't just rely on a portabella mushroom and the slimmest of burger toppings - most of the time, if you want grilled baby eggplant, you're out of luck unless you make it yourself.

              1. re: Stephmo

                I'm a ittle confused as to the defense of chains. Pizza and Brew in Westchester is a chain, but they make pasta from scratch and the food is well above average. The atmospshere is a little chaotic, but the food is as good as anything I've paid 3 times the amount for. Not all chains sell food that tastes bad, and obviosuly places like Burger King sell edible food and it's convenient.

                I wont bore you with my opinions on the Cheesecake Factory, because I think your average fast food place makes better food. My one question is the portions. You share and make additioonal meals later? Are you a family of birds? The times I've gone the portions have been paltry at best.

                1. re: jhopp217

                  Don't under estimated birds' appetites - they have to eat the equivalent of their own weight each day to maintain their energy. So if Stephmo says the portions are large, who am I to contradict. :-)

                  1. re: jhopp217

                    I promise we're not birds. I find most restaurant servings huge. I swear they use half a head of lettuce in their salads at Cheesecake factory. I will admit I've mostly had sandwiches and salads there, so I can't really speak to entrees, but I seem to recall being with someone that got chicken-something-or-rather and it was two chicken breasts with all of the accompaniments.

                    I'll say that even when we do Ruth's Chris and I get the lamb chops - these are 3 double-cut chops - I can usually only finish 1 and a half or so. Then again, I eat the entire plate of steamed spinach...so that probably doesn't help. Oh, and the wine...that takes up space!

                    My only issue with the blanket disparaging of anything is that it creates this level of food snobbery that I think actually stops most people from trying new things or going outside of their comfort zone. The interesting thing in the Cheesecake Factory philosophy with their menu changes is that they reach out to re-create what high-end dining establishments are doing. I think they were one of the first places regularly serving the now-ubiquitous Mojito outside of latin restaurants (as an example) a dozen years ago. If someone tries something new because they trust the Cheesecake Factory and they like it, that's a good thing. If it means they decide to try something more authentic, even better.

                    That's the way I look at it.

                    1. re: jhopp217

                      Say what? The portions at Cheesecake Factory are "paltry at best"? This is a joke, right?

                      1. re: charmedgirl

                        I have never ate there and had a substantial amount of food. Maybe I order the wrong thing every time, but the portions are ridiculous for the price.

                        1. re: jhopp217

                          That has to be the first time I've EVER heard paltry portions as a complaint from CF. Every time we go I'm amazed by how much food they pile on the plate.

                          1. re: Suzy Q

                            Get the WASABI CRUSTED AHI TUNA - it's six 1/4" slices of fish. That's it. I don't remember the price but it was somewhere in the $16-20 range

                2. I noticed the supertaster guy on this chowhound site gave the pasta good reviews as well.

                  1. For those of you ragging on Pizza Hut as indicative of America's poor taste in food, specifically for having helped "dumb down" our country's preferences you should check out this video in which Pizza Hut CEO David Novak reveals the latest menu offering the Pizzadox. The Pizzadox is basically an M.C. Escher pizza, any corner looks sound, but overall it would only be possible in 5D space. Now you tell me if that's dumbed down.

                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6yy9F...

                    1. Guess what, Chowhounds?

                      I had the pasta.

                      Yep. In the Fall, when it was rolled out in the KC area, I had it. It was a promo item with the pizza. I don't like pizza hut, never have, but being new in KC that evening, it worked as we unpacked our boxes.

                      I will eat anything. ANYTHING. Once. I am not trying to sound elitist or be branded a chow snob, but the pasta was hardly passable. Really. When I saw the new commercial - I was convinced those were all stooges.

                      It was BLAND - not surprising - the baked cheese on top - sooo salty and the tomato sauce was tasteless. PAsta overcooked. Just, horrible. DH (who will eat anythig. Several times even if he doesnt like it) thought it was bad, also.

                      On a positive pizza hut note, it had been a long time since i had ordered PH, and they have some kind of cetral dispatch ordergin system whichw as nice. You call this 1800 number, and place your order with someone who only is taking orders, and it goes to teh closest Hut. Again, nice if you don't know where the heck you are (like us on that very hungry evening.)

                      And, yes, we have found some great local pizza since then.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: stellamystar

                        I remember visiting a friend at college and they ordered pizza. Pizza hut came, and in a drunken stupor me and a friend polished of a pie. Probably the last time we ordered from there. I went into one maybe 5 years ago, and it waas equally as bad. Now Dominoes is horrible, but pizza hut gives new meaning to horrible, so I can't imagine a bunch of people at a real restaurant being tricked by PH's product.

                        1. re: jhopp217

                          I do have a sentimental soft-spot for both Pizza Hut and Dominoes (especially Dominoes), as my wife and I had many pies delivered after we bought our house 18 years ago. Got us through many late nights of painting our new place. We were alot younger then, those were the days.

                      2. Do you really think that those people aren't paid actors? Really?

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: uptown jimmy

                          Well, we know they weren't foodies of any stripe. How do you get a whole place to order only one of two pastas and not know there's somthing up? What about sides? Nobody wanted a salad?

                          I suspect they went to Olive Garden and snatched people out of the lineup out front.

                          1. re: Scrapironchef

                            heheheh no Olive Gardens any where close to Provence, which, by the way, was NEVER on Bleecker Street! (Try MacDougal!)

                        2. The people who believe that the diners in the commercial were real - are people who would go to Pizza Hut and love the pasta.

                          1. It struck me right away that the message at the bottom of the screen says something to the effect of "these are real people" as opposed to "these are not actors." Pretty hilarious, actually, when you think about it. Just shows how dumb they think we are.