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Pizza Hut rolls out pie with ‘cheese pockets'

By CANDICE CHOI, AP Food Industry Writer Modified: April 2, 2013 at 12:24 pm •  Published: April 2, 2013
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Pizza Hut's executive chef Wiley Bates said it took about a year to perfect the pie and that the shape had to be simplified so it would be easy for restaurant employees to make. For example Bates said earlier versions of the pie had four little cups of cheese per slice, rather than two.

A pepperoni slice of the new pie has 390 calories and 20 grams of fat. By comparison, a slice of the regular hand-tossed pepperoni is listed at 310 calories and 13 grams of fat. A pepperoni slice from the Stuffed Crust pie has 340 calories and 16 grams of fat.

With one topping, the Crazy Cheesy Crust is $3 more per pie than Pizza Hut's regular $10 pie.

The new pies come just ahead of the Final Four games this weekend, when pizza sales typically spike. In February, Pizza Hut also introduced its “pizza sliders” as a way to lift sales after Super Bowl weekend, when people might have pizza fatigue.

Pizza Hut has 6,400 locations nationwide and is a unit of Yum Brands Inc., which also owns KFC and Taco Bell. Last year, sales at Pizza Hut restaurants open at least a year rose 3 percent after flat growth in the previous year.

The metric is a key gauge of health because it strips out the impact of newly opened and closed locations.

Yum Brands shares fell 77 cents to close at $71.17 on Monday.

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Follow Candice Choi at www.twitter.com/candicechoi