Pizza Hut is rebranding itself as Pasta Trough in a radical overhaul of its corporate image and menu offerings. Logos have been replaced at corporate headquarters in Dallas and new signs are being installed at the chain's outlets worldwide.
Asked why Pizza Hut had opted for the name change, CEO Arterio Sclerosis replied, "Well it was either that or install extra-wide double doors in all our restaurants. It was more cost-effective just to change the signs," shrugged Sclerosis, while removing bits of string cheese from his custom-made Italian suit.
Pizza Hut head of Public Relations, Margherita Mozzarella explained that their customers were more health conscious than ever and the company was responding to customer demand.
"Our customers have given us feedback that they were overwhelmed by our vast selection of pizzas on the menu. They got sick and tired of being asked stupid questions like, Do you want thick or thin crust? Do you want extra cheese? Do you want Cheesy Bites on the crust? They come to us to pig out, not to waste time reading menus."
Ms Mozzarella explained how the new Pasta Trough restaurant concept will work in reality. "Basically we will have a large trough running down the middle of each restaurant. The troughs will be filled continuously with pasta through large industrial sized sewage pipes direct from the kitchen to ensure it will be 'piping hot'. We'll switch from creamy pasta to tomato sauce pasta every fifteen minutes to accommodate different tastes."
"Then every five minutes, the assistant manager will do a hog call, Sooiee! Woooooooooo! Sooiee! and the patrons can make a mad dash for the trough," explained an excited Ms Mozzarella. "It's fun and our health consultants say it is a healthier option than just sitting there throughout a high-carb meal."
"Now if you're like me, you must be wondering how the customers will get their cheese on their pasta." Ms Mozzarella continued, after a short pause to brush off what looked like dried parmesan from the shoulder pads of her 1980s retro-style jacket.
"Well, Pasta Trough has taken care of that as well. Suspended over every table, we've installed 55 gallon barrels of grated Italian-style cheese. We call it Italian-style; actually it comes from China. But don't worry. We've installed melamine magnets in all the barrels. Then with a push of a button, the barrels will overturn and presto, all the melamine-free cheese you want will be dumped directly onto your plate of pasta." Ms Mozzarella continued brushing dried cheese off her jacket lapel.
Assistant Manager, Alfredo Tagliatelli, who works for Pasta Trough in London, England, is cautious about the changes. "I was sent to training in Dallas to learn the hog call. I got my Certificate of Attendance alright, but I'm a little wary of yelling out 'Sue Me!' every five minutes to our customers. My District Manager in Atlanta says not to worry about it though so I'll give it a try."
The new Pasta Trough in Razorback, Arkansas has been piloting the new menu for the past month and is doing a booming business. Head chef Wedgie Nadal has nothing but praise for the new Pasta Trough menu. "Our customers love it. I can serve this slop up with one hand tied behind my back," sneered a smug Nadal, with one hand behind his back.
Copy cat replicas of the new Pasta Trough are already starting to spring up across America as competitors rush to rebrand themselves as well. In Hollywood, Planet Hollywood is trying out Trough Hollywood. In a gala rebranding opening, Trough Hollywood brought in British comedian/actor Russell Rebrand to headline the event.
Whilst some thought Russell Rebrand's comedy was fresh, most rated it as stale. Rebrand joked about Sarah Palin rebranding herself as Sarah Trough and hosting an all-you-can-eat pig-out campaign event just to get the farmers' vote.
"I don't know about you, but the thought of Sarah Palin as an all-you-can-eat buffet just left a bad taste in my mouth, as it did for my wife Michelle," commented one customer who wished to remain anonymous.
In London, fast-growing and family-friendly restaurant chain Giraffe, is also considering a 'trough' theme called The Watering Hole. According to Giraffe CEO and founder, Philip Poacher, they will retain their safari motif as well as their family focus.
"What we plan to do is make an African watering hole in the centre of each restaurant," explained Poacher. "Then we'll have a dead giraffe, not a real one of course, lying down with its long neck extended by the side of the pool. Like a fresh kill. We'll splay open the giraffe's long neck, and presto, we've got our trough ready to fill with fun foods for the kiddies."
Investors are watching the new rebranding schemes closely to see if they will pay high dividends. Pasta Trough shares have been sluggish in trading since today's announcement of the name change. Not everyone is convinced the rebranding attempt will work.
Skeptic Elis Pyrrho sees it all as a short-lived fad. "I've gone to the Dallas landfill and salvaged all the old Pizza Hut signs I could find. And I've bought up their old dotcom domain name as well."
"When this stupid Pasta Trough phase comes to an end, Pizza Hut will have me to deal with," purred Pyrrho with a cheesy grin, as he ate his home-delivered ExtravaganZZa Feast pizza with loads of pepperoni, ham, savory Italian sausage, beef, fresh onions, fresh green peppers, fresh mushrooms and black olives with extra cheese from Dominos.