For the most part, when you’ve seen ONE Pizza Hut, you’ve pretty much seen EVERY Pizza Hut. Now that comes with a few exceptions, of course, but the architecture of most Pizza Hut locations are so distinctive that you can easily identify any building that is or used to be a Pizza Hut. This is due to the two identifying features that make Pizza Huts stick out: first is the building’s trapezoidal shape, and second is that roof hump that shoots straight above the building’s trapezoidal awnings. But, as Pittsburgh transplant Mike Neilson has discovered, ANYONE can easily identify any building that used to be a Pizza Hut.
Neilson has been building a global atlas and database of buildings that used to be a Pizza Hut, and he calls these structures “UTBAPHs“, an abbreviation that stands for “Used To Be A Pizza Hut.” This resonated with Mike, because since the architecture of a Pizza Hut is so distinctive (whether current or former), the design served as a beacon for providing impossible driving directions. In his friend’s comedy routine, was the one Pittsburghese direction he could give that anyone, regardless of where they’re from, could easily understand comprehend: “Turn left at the place that used to be a Pizza Hut.”
Interestingly, Pizza Hut never meant for its architecture to become the brand’s focus — well, not at FIRST at least. When Pizza Hut started up in 1958 in Wicthita, Kansas by the brothers Dan and Frank Carney, soon after they bought their first building, they got a sign that only had only had enough room for eight letters. Of course, the brothers knew the first word had to be “Pizza” because DUH! Finally, after really taking a good look at the building, it was decided that the best way to describe their building in three letters would be to call it a hut. And THE REST IS HISTORY!