Hell pizza takes fireworks off the menu

Author
NZ Herald,
Section
Business,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 7 November 2018, 1:03p.m.
HELL will no longer sell fireworks with its pizza from next year onwards. Photo / Supplied
HELL will no longer sell fireworks with its pizza from next year onwards. Photo / Supplied

Popular pizza chain Hell has taken pyrotechnics off the menu, despite the pizza-firework combos being a top seller, following calls for social responsibility.

The franchise chain which operates 73 stores around the country has been selling its "Hellfire" pizza, which comes with a side of fireworks, in the lead up to and on Guy Fawkes Night for the past five years.

Hell pizza general manager Ben Cumming said the flaming deal was introduced to offer customers a whole night's worth of entertainment.

"We were the first company, and only company, to deliver fireworks to people's houses," Cumming said.

"We know it has created a lot of enjoyment but this year we have listened to a lot more negative feedback from the public with really legitimate concerns, mainly around safety of animals and anti-social behaviour, so balancing all of that in light of the feedback we feel it is the right thing to do and move on."

People using fireworks irresponsibly and the distress they can cause for horses and other pets was the deciding factor to take them off the menu.

"There's always been that risk with fireworks and we've always had a bit of feedback about it but it does seem to be growing a lot. We've decided we can't ignore it, we have to listen to our customers and what people want from our company."

The Hellfire combos were extremely popular and contributed significantly to its week of sales between November 2 through to November 5.

For the past consecutive three years the fireworks week had been one of record sales for the company, including the one that it just had, Cummings said.

"It is a significant revenue boost which obviously we'll miss but we're balancing it up with the general mood of the public."

Cummings would not say how much Hell spent on fireworks each year but said it was significant and franchisees did really well out of it.

"We were a little bit surprised at how easy it was to get into the market," he said.

"It was good for our brand for a period of time but we had to balance it all up. We don't want to be losing customers to people who feel so negatively about fireworks that they're actually not willing to buy food from you."

Hell also received a lot of good feedback during firework season, he said.

The pizza franchise plans to introduce other retail-food mix offerings next year.

"Fireworks was our main foray into retail products that we have entered into. Typically in the past we have stuck to food although with a little bit of merchandise as well, T-shirts and the like," he said.

"We're lucky at Hell that we have a brand that lends itself to different types of product, it doesn't have to be just food so we will continue to explore that ... we're certainly not closed off to having different products outside of food."

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