The Old School Pizza Hut Mascot We Totally Forgot About

Pizza Hut box with pizza inside
Pizza Hut box with pizza inside - HeyDebbie/Shutterstock

Not much is known about Pizza Hut Pete, the namesake mustachioed mascot of yore. It's claimed that he first arrived on the scene in 1963, just five short years after the chain was founded. Pete's visage could be found all over the restaurant, such as on drinking glasses and menus, and eventually made its way to a promotional puppet, which was just a shaped plastic bag with a picture of him stamped on it.

It's not entirely clear when Pizza Hut Pete fell out of favor but the restaurant did begin focusing on its unmistakable red roof within its marketing materials at some point in 1969. However, he is alive and well at the Pizza Hut Museum, which is located at Wichita State University, in honor of the two students who founded the chain. The museum resides in the building where the very first eatery was located, which was moved to the campus in 1986. Along with Pete, the museum also contains other artifacts from the world's first Pizza Hut, such as the original cash register.

Read more: The 101 Best Pizzas In America

The Birth Of Pizza Hut Pete

Pizza Hut Pete matchbook
Pizza Hut Pete matchbook - adrienebiondo/Instagram

Pizza Hut certainly wasn't alone in its effort to personify the restaurant using a mascot. Just consider the creepy story of Domino's Noid, an off-putting cartoon mascot popular in the 1980s but ultimately discontinued in 1995. As for Pete, this affable fellow appeared in classic pizza maker garb, such as a red and white checked shirt, apron, hat, and jaunty yellow scarf. Depending on how he was presented, Pete was sometimes seen giving an OK gesture as he welcomed diners to Pizza Hut.

In other marketing materials, he was shown removing a tasty pizza from the oven. The mascot could also be seen tossing pizza dough. While it's not entirely clear who invented Pete, the mascot was likely developed by Pizza Hut's founders. The restaurant was the product of two enterprising brothers, Dan and Frank Carney, who started the chain with a $600 loan provided by their mother. While Pete was beloved by many who visited the restaurant, the brothers eventually decided that they needed something more recognizable to help patrons notice their establishment.

Tasty Pizza Under An Iconic Red Roof

old Pizza Hut storefront
old Pizza Hut storefront - Ed!/Wiki Commons

Pizza Hut locations were once strongly associated with their red roofs, an architectural feature developed to make the restaurant more identifiable. The chain founders hoped that the eye-catching roof would help it stand out and the strategy appeared to have been a success. The brand ascended to great heights in 1971 and became firmly entrenched in the childhoods of many, both in the U.S. and elsewhere throughout the world. As for the name of the restaurant, Pizza Hut was simply chosen out of convenience, as the moniker was short enough to fit on existing signage.

Even though the rise of the red roof spelled the end of Pizza Hut Pete, the new marketing proved to have impressive staying power. The company reinstated its previous logo in 2019, which featured the iconic red roof floating above the name of the restaurant in black lettering. The eatery likely hoped to capitalize on the current wave of 90s nostalgia, as well as to differentiate itself from competitors. Keep in mind that the chain is still closely associated with the decade, as illustrated by these Pizza Hut menu items from the 90s you probably forgot about.

While there's no denying that Pete had an appeal all its own, it doesn't look like the brand will be bringing back this jolly guy any time soon. Thankfully, we'll always have our memories.

Read the original article on The Daily Meal