Carl Loredo, the former global chief marketing officer for Wendy’s, will take the reins as president of Pizza Hut U.S. as the brand tries to rebound from a sluggish first quarter that saw a 6% dip in same-store sales.

During his tenure at Wendy’s, Loredo rose from vice president of brand marketing to global CMO over 8 ½ years. According to QSR Magazine, he was integral in building the burger brand’s digital business and producing various marketing and content campaigns. Wendy’s digital sales increased more than 15% in the first quarter of 2024 compared to Q4 2023 and 35% against Q1 2023.

“I love a good story, and Pizza Hut’s journey from one restaurant in Wichita, Kansas, to global cultural icon status is tremendously inspiring,” Loredo said in a statement. “It is an honor to lead Pizza Hut’s U.S. business and be a part of taking this beloved brand forward for the next generation of customers.”

Related: As customers tighten their belts, Pizza Hut feels the pinch. Will AI spur new growth?

Loredo will report to Pizza Hut CEO Aaron Powell starting on June 3.

“Carl comes to Pizza Hut with a strong track record of positioning brands for success and delivering results in highly competitive markets,” Powell said. “He is adept at helping brands show up in novel and authentic ways at the right intersection of customer need and culture. The Pizza Hut team is delighted to welcome Carl, who will bring a passion and focus that will take us forward to the brand’s next bright chapter.”

Pizza Hut has been deploying cutting-edge technology to drive greater kitchen efficiency, speed up delivery and push customers to digital ordering. The company has thus far onboarded more than 500 stores to its Dragontail AI platform, which aims to optimize and manage the entire food preparation process from order through delivery.

Parent company Yum! Brands has also been onboarding Pizza Hut locations to its omnichannel e-commerce platform to fuel digital sales. 

“When we move people to digital ordering, we see an uplift in check in almost every case, whether it’s kiosk or online,” Yum! Brands CEO David Gibbs told investors in a recent earnings call. “When we move people to things like Dragontail…for Pizza Hut, we know we get a four-minute savings on delivery time of pizzas, and we know we can get drivers up to deliver more orders per hour by using it.”

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