Foodservice Equipment Reports

P.F. Chang’s Plans Quicker-Service Asian Market Concept

Chipotle’s debut of ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen is only a few months old, but the concept has garnered the attention of a major competitor. P.F. Chang’s China Bistro plans to open an even more limited-service and pared-down-menu version of its fast-casual Pei Wei Asian Diner in Phoenix next April. The test restaurant, called Pei Wei Asian Market, will take over an existing Diner unit in Phoenix, said K.C. Moylan, president of the 173-unit Asian Diner division. An additional three to five additional locations around the country are likely.

In an investor conference webcast, Moylan said the quicker-service Market will have some distinct differences from the 11-year-old Diner concept. A smaller, more flexible footprint will measure less than the traditional Diner’s 3,000-3,200 sq.ft., making the concept a more economical fit for dense urban areas, including Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and Philadelphia.

The display kitchen and ordering line will remain similar to that found in the Diner, but will have two registers instead of four, a spice rack for décor, a digital menu board that resembles a chalkboard, and a possible touch-screen terminal with information about ingredients in specific dishes. All items will be packaged to go, Moylan said. Portion sizes will shrink, as will the menu, made smaller to accommodate delivery times of three to four minutes.

Pei Wei Asian Diner currently has 173 locations in 23 states. Moylan said the division plans to open 16 to 20 locations in 2012. Target markets are Chicago, Los Angeles, Florida, and the Mid-Atlantic region. More units will open in non-traditional airport locations as well.

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