(Corrects the number of U.S. units in 4th paragraph to 6,300 instead of 7,600)
By Lisa Baertlein
LOS ANGELES, Dec 5 (Reuters) - Pizza Hut on Tuesday began offering beer delivery in a downtown Phoenix restaurant as part of a larger test aimed at setting the chain apart from stronger rivals such as Domino’s Pizza Inc.
Pizza Hut’s beer delivery menu in Phoenix includes six packs of Budweiser, Bud Light, Shock Top and Kilt Lifter, a local brew.
It plans to add wine deliveries in January and to expand its beer and wine delivery test to other markets in 2018.
More than 1,700 of Pizza Hut’s roughly 6,300 U.S. units already have liquor licenses, the company said.
Rival Papa John’s International sells beer and wine at a handful of locations in the western United States and at locations in Latin America, China and Russia. A spokesman said it would consider testing beer delivery in the future.
Pizza Hut’s delivery drivers will be at least 21 years old and trained in local alcohol laws. They will verify that customers are old enough to legally consume alcohol and have the authority to cancel an alcohol delivery order, the company said.
Pizza Hut reported flat U.S. same-store sales in the latest quarter, when Domino’s Pizza’s domestic units reported a rise of 8.4 percent.
Pizza Hut parent Yum Brands Inc has been working to turn around sales at the chain. Its investments include adding a loyalty program, beefing up technology and rolling out delivery boxes designed to keep pizzas hotter. (Reporting by Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)