Pizza Hut plans to start offering pizza by the slice for the first time, part of a test to refashion its image and court diners in their 20s and 30s.
The two test locations - one in York, Neb. and Pawtucket, R.I. - opened last week. A slice will cost between $2 and $3 and take 3-4 minutes to heat.
The tests reflect how established restaurant chains are scrambling to keep pace with a rapidly changing industry. Diners increasingly are flocking to places such as Chipotle, where they feel they can get restaurant-quality food for a little more than they would pay at fast-food chains such as Burger King.
In fact, Chipotle recently announced plans to move into the pizza business with Pizzeria Locale. Customers walk up to a counter and can watch as their pizza is built; the pie then is placed in an oven that cooks it in about 2 minutes.
"We're seeing the trends for quick and ready products," noted Carrie Walsh, Pizza Hut's chief marketing officer.
Rival Domino's also has been selling pizza by the slice at some of its newly designed stores, according to a spokesman. Pizza Hut's parent company, Yum Brands Inc., is also testing a more upmarket concept with its KFC chain called "KFC eleven." And McDonald's, the world's biggest hamburger chain, is testing a "build-your-own burger" concept in Laguna Niguel, Calif.