Kathryn Austin, chief people and marketing director, Pizza Hut Restaurants
HR magazine, September 18, 2017
Kathryn Austin has played a core leadership role in Pizza Hut's brand turnaround
Kathryn Austin’s challenge has been to radically change the customer and team experience to re-position the brand as appealing to Millennials while remaining a much-loved family favourite. Her joint HR and marketing role is a manifestation of the business’s view that the frontline Hut teams best represent the Pizza Hut brand, and a core belief that your guest is never going to feel happier than the team members serving them.
Culturally the business has been turned on its head with an empowered frontline determining investment plans and every team member able to contribute to head office decision-making via internal social media. Service and people are at the heart of the turnaround story, which has achieved 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 reputation of the entire industry; putting pride and dignity back into service and making hospitality a career of 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 graduate programme with British Airways working in the Americas, Caribbean and across Europe.
She is a chartered member of the CIPD with a Master's in personnel and development and also holds a Master's of English language and literature from the University of St Andrews 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.