Inside Pizza Hut as it prepares to reopen seating areas with NO buffet or ice cream machines

PIZZA Hut is getting ready to reopen its restaurants for eat-in customers next week – but diners won’t be able to help themselves to the chain’s famous buffet or ice cream.

Instead, customers will have their pizza and dessert brought out to them by staff.

The Sun was given exclusive access to the pizza chain’s Crawley branch to see how eating out will be different post-lockdown. 

Inside this restaurant, only 60 per cent of the tables can be used and there’s a reduced menu in place.

Pizza Hut has been closed for eat-in customers since March 20 following the coronavirus crisis, although most branches have reopened for takeout and home delivery.

The casual dining chain will start reopening its seating areas from this Monday, July 6, although not all locations will open their doors on this date.




Pizza Hut will welcome customers back in stages, although it’s still working out exact opening dates for each of its 260 branches.

I can’t wait to eat out again, so I was excited to see all the changes.

It was strange to see the buffet station and ice cream machine closed in the Crawley branch – but Pizza Hut does have alternatives available. 

They’re introducing a “Bluffet” where customers can still fill up on all you can eat pizza and salad, but their food is brought to them by staff.

Instead of individual slices, diners will pick one small 7-inch pizza or bowl or salad at a time. 

At the Crawley branch, it costs £8.50 for adults or £5.50 for kids – which is pricier than the old £7.95 adult and £4.95 kids buffet.



When it's time for dessert, waiters will serve you a bowl of ice cream and you’ll get sweets at your table. 

The drinks machine is also out of action, so you won’t be able to serve your own refreshment. 

Customers will also notice new disposable menus which can be binned after use, and you’ll  have to pick up your cutlery before you get to your table. 

There’s a reduced choice of food too.

You’ll still find fan favourite pizzas like margherita, meat feast and Hawaiian, but “more complex” dishes like their BBQ rib side have been temporarily removed. 

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To help reduce contact with staff, Pizza Hut has also introduced a new “order from table” section on its website.

This works by customers using their smartphones to select their restaurant and table number, and ordering their food online.

You can still ask staff to take your order as normal if you’d prefer.

However, you’ll need card or contactless when it comes to paying as Pizza Hut won’t be accepting cash.

Like other post-lockdown businesses, there are hand sanitiser stations and a one-way system in place, as well as social distancing markers on the floor.

What's on Pizza Hut's reduced menu?

PIZZA Hut will have a limited menu in place when it reopens for dine-in customers.

Menus will vary depending on your location, but here's what's on offer in the Crawley restaurant.

This branches has all its usual bases available, including deep pan, thin, stuffed crust and gluten-free.

Pizza

  • Margherita
  • Veggie
  • Hawaiian
  • Meat Feast
  • Pepperoni
  • The G.O.A.T
  • Chicken Supreme
  • BBQ Americano
  • Chicken Delight Flatbread
  • BBQ Steak and Chicken Flatbread
  • Virtuous Veg Flatbread
  • Veggie Pepperphoni
  • Supreme

Starters and sides

  • Southern Fried Nuggets
  • Chicken Wings
  • Mini Corn On The Cob
  • Cheesy Triangles
  • Garlic Bread With Mozzarella Cheese
  • Onions Rings
  • Chicken Bites
  • Jalapeno Poppers
  • Fries
  • Garlic Bread

Dessert

  • Triple Chocolate Cookie Dough
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
  • White Chocolate And Caramel Cookie Dough
  • Hot Chocolate Brownie
  • Sharing Cookie Dough
  • Raspberry Ice

Kids' Menu

  • Little Boss Pizza
  • Big Boss Pizza
  • Big Boss Onion Rings
  • Big Boss Fries
  • Little Boss Spaghetti Bolognese
  • Big Boss Mini Corn On The Cob
  • Little Boss Cheesy Pasta
  • Little Boss Breaded Chicken And Fries
  • Big Boss Breaded Chicken And Fries
  • Big Boss Garlic Bread
  • Big Boss Lasagne or Mac and Cheese
  • Del Monte Ice Lolly
  • Big Boss Chocolate Brownie

Vegan Menu

  • Vegan Pepperphoni
  • Vegan Margherita
  • Vegan Virtuous Veg
  • Vegan Veggie
  • Vegan Southern Fried Nuggets
  • Vegan I Can't Believe It's Not Cheesecake
  • Vegan Raspberry Ice

But unlike some restaurant chains, Pizza Hut won’t be using perspex screens or dividers to keep tables apart in the Crawley branch.

These are still spaced out by two metres though, and some tables are out of use completely, so you’ll be separated from other people. 

As fewer people can sit inside, you may have to queue at the front of the restaurant – here you’ll find different lines for eat-in and takeaway customers.

The loos are also open once again, but some toilets and urinals have been blocked off.

If you’ve missed eating out, the changes at Pizza Hut mean you’ll have plenty of space from other customers – even if it means missing out on the buffet and ice cream machine. 

But I’d recommend booking a table in advance online to avoid queues. 

For more behind-the-scenes videos, see what happened when The Sun visited KFC ahead of it reopening for dine-in.

We’ve also checked out all the changes in Lakeside shopping centre in Essex.

And here’s what going for a game of ten-pin bowling at Hollywood Bowl will look like.

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