From The Top With Pizza Hut’s Chief Development Officer

He’s seen our brand from coast to coast, and the impact it can have on people everywhere.  Learn a bit more about our Chief Development Officer, Al Litchenburg, and his passion for the brand and growing its presence in the U.S.

Who inspired you over the years? My Dad – a family man who never hesitated to roll up his sleeves and get to work. He taught me a lot about values and working hard to make a difference. Also, one of my first supervisors had a great impact on me. He saw something in me and took a personal interest in my development, giving me the confidence to try new things and go further than I imagined. That personal commitment and belief in me is something I try to pay forward.

Family and community are very important to you, tell us a more about your involvement in both. My kids are older now, but for several years I was very involved in their youth sport activities – baseball, soccer, hockey – I was either coaching or cheering them on from the sidelines. Our family is also involved in our church in various ways and my daughter and I recently went on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic, serving others in a community much less fortunate. Currently, I serve on the Board of Trustees for Lovejoy Independent School District. I enjoy bringing my business and team leadership expertise to the table in a volunteer capacity that benefits the local community, kids, and education.

You’ve been with Pizza Hut for more than 20 years. What’s the best part about working at Pizza Hut? I believe it’s our iconic heritage… people want to work at and patronize a place where there is a rich story, and Pizza Hut is truly an American (and global) success story. Our people care about the brand, and they are proud to work here and serve our customers.  Sometimes I get letters from people begging us to build a store in their town, and I truly enjoy helping our franchisees bring the brand to new locations. People love Pizza Hut from coast to coast and they are so excited when we build a store in their area.

What is the best part about working with our franchisees? Their entrepreneurial spirit. There are so many examples of our franchisees who started their career working in a Pizza Hut or owning one restaurant and were then able to successfully expand their business.  I appreciate people who own their own business and have to roll up their sleeves and wear many hats to be successful.

Given Earth Day takes place this month, can you tell us a bit more about Pizza Hut’s focus on environmental sustainability? Pizza Hut U.S. has a continued to make steady progress in our goal to reduce our environmental footprint. Our compact and efficient design for delivery-focused store models leads the way in this effort. The footprint itself is extremely compact (just 1,100 sq. ft.), thereby reducing energy consumption and the quantity of materials required to build the store. These new restaurants are designed to provide over 20% energy savings. We also participate in YUM’s green building program to create sustainable restaurants, meeting specific energy, water, site, material and human environmental quality measures. Learn more about the green building program here.

Tell us about a favorite memory you have of Pizza Hut from your childhood. I was about 12 or 13 years old and my family went to a Pizza Hut restaurant for dinner, as we usually did once a week. Somehow, I was able to sneak some of our red pepper (quite a bit, actually) on to my younger sister’s slices. Needless to say, her reaction was priceless and I was in a bit of trouble afterwards…but it was worth it!

Lastly, what’s your go-to from the $5 Line Up? Easy – two Cinnabon® orders and wings! Oh, by the way, I also order an Original Pan® Meat Lover’s® pizza for dessert!

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