Kathryn Austin, chief people & marketing director, Pizza Hut Restaurants
HR magazine, September 10, 2015
Kathryn Austin has played a core leadership role in the turnaround team responsible for putting the Pizza Hut brand back on the map and into strong profitability with around 300 restaurants and 10,000 employees serving more than two million guests a month.
Kathryn Austin’s challenge has been to radically change the customer and team
experience in-order to re-position the brand and become relevant again for millennials while remaining a much loved family favourite. Her joint HR and marketing role is a manifestation of the business’s view that the front line Hut teams really are the Pizza Hut brand and a core belief that your guest is never going to feel happier than your team members serving them.
Culturally the business has been turned on its head with an empowered front line determining investment plans and every team member able to contribute to head office decision making via internal social media. Service and people really are at the heart of the turnaround story achieving many accolades including Papa recognising Pizza Hut as ‘The Best Restaurant Chain’ in the UK for two consecutive years.
Austin is now on a mission to reposition the brand of the entire industry, putting pride and dignity back into service and making Hospitality a career of first choice for school and college leavers.
Prior to working for Pizza Hut Restaurants, Austin worked in the finance sector for 10 years with Barclays and Lloyds TSB, her last role working on the people elements of the Lloyds TSB/HBOS merger. She started her career on a general management programme with British Airways working in the Americas, Caribbean and across Europe.
She is a chartered member of CIPD with a masters in personnel and development and also holds a masters of English language and literature from St Andrews University and University of California Berkeley. Her love of good food and service goes back a long way, her claim to fame was once winning Young Cook of Great Britain and judging junior Masterchef.
HR staff at Pizza Hut try working at restaurants